Chamber: GB economy cannot endure another COVID lockdown

Chamber: GB economy cannot endure another COVID lockdown
Greg Laroda Sr.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Grand Bahama’s ailing economy ‘definitely cannot’ endure another lockdown, the island’s Chamber of Commerce president warned yesterday.

Greg LaRoda told Eyewitness News he hoped that “it doesn’t come to that” amid the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

“I think that from COVID-19 started about a week ago we would have had eight confirmed cases and now we have had more cases than we had since this started,” LaRoda said.

“I think that is cause for concern. We are monitoring it and seeing just how bad it actually gets in terms of new cases. We are urging people to obviously adhere to protocols in terms of social distancing, wearing masks in public and self quarantining if you suspect that you may may have symptoms, seek medical attention and that sort of thing. We have to continue to monitor what the future brings.”

LaRoda said: “We are hoping it doesn’t get to a point where and island wide shutdown has to be considered. I think that depends on how many positive cases we see. We definitely don’t need that right now. We obviously have safety foremost in our minds and have to be guided by the results we see.

“We are still holding out hope that if we can continue with the activities we started in terms of the systematic opening of different businesses to bring some relief to business owners and get some persons employed.  The economy was struggling from Dorian and suffering as a result of this COVID-19 pandemic. For as long as possible we would like to maintain economic activity on the island.”

Head of the Grand Bahama COVID-19 Task Force Dr Frank Bartlett said earlier this week there is not enough data to determine whether the surge of new cases in Grand Bahama over the last week represents clusters of infections or a second wave of community transmission.

There have been 10 new infections on the island in the last week.

As part of the phased approach to resume commercial activity, the borders were reopened to international carriers on July 1.

Prior to the new infections, the island had not recorded a new case in 63 days.