Ministry of Agriculture says Fish Fry remains open despite “rumours”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A group of Fish Fry vendors at Arawak Cay today claimed authorities blocked access to their strip of cultural restaurants on West Bay Street and prevented patrons from accessing the area.
However, the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, which has responsibility for management the Fish Fry, said the popular restaurant hub remains open “despite rumours to the contrary”.
The ministry maintained the Fish Fry was not shutdown.
Speaking to the media this morning, Arawak Cay Conch, Fish, Vegetable and Food Vendors Association President Rodney Russell said: “I need to ask the prime minister of The Bahamas, why are you punishing me people? What have we done to cause this atrocity upon us?
Russell is a stakeholder in the Red Snapper restaurant.
“What has the fishermen in Andros, and Mr. Butler in Long Island done to the prime minister that the outlet that feeds Bahamian people. Why is it our local economy is being stressed by our government?
“Are you the people’s champion or should we look for another?”
He continued: “Today, this is the last plea we are making to our government; this day. We would like for these gates to be moved. We would like to be able to do business in our country. We would like for us to help our people.”
Pointing toward an erected barricade in the road in front of the restaurant ‘Sea Side’, Russell said: “Mr. prime minister, please move these shackles that impede us.”
“We further advise that operators at the Fish Fry have been advised and are committed to the safety protocols put in place to protect vendors, visitors and patrons alike from the COVID-19 virus,” the ministry said in a statement today.
“These protocols include, the mandatory wearing of masks, social distancing, curb-side, takeaway and delivery services. The process of returning the Fish Fry to full operations is ongoing and the Ministry will advise if any changes are made to our goal of restoring this area too full, and safe public use through the appropriate channels.
“We thank the public for their continued support of the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay and we thank the operators for the efforts made to keep their customers and staff safe.”
Upon its recent reopening last Friday, there have been concerns about adherence to social distancing protocols, after several videos made the rounds on social media purporting to show droves of patrons closely seated together at stalls without wearing masks.
At the time, the association said Bahamians were eager to return to the popular site and there were some initial issues, but claimed it was the area east of Arawak Cay near the beach where the restriction were not being followed.
In a separate interview today, Lillian Larimore-Smith, operator of Candies Enterprises and vice president of the association, urged Bahamians to comply with all social distancing and hygiene requirement while visiting Arawak Cay, insisting service is conditional upon patrons wearing masks.
“We are trying to accommodate not just you, but our patrons,” she told Eyewitness News.
“We have been closed for three months and we are excited to have you, but we must maintain what the government’s regulations are.”