NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the government will partner with the Downtown Nassau Partnership to transform the downtown area into an outdoor venue on weekends in an effort to stimulate the economy and entrepreneurship.
The project, called ‘Downtown Under The Stars’ is expected to take place over several weeks starting in the latter half of July, during which downtown will be transformed on Friday and Saturday evenings into an elegant outdoor, pedestrianized café setting.
The prime minister said the venue will feature Bahamian, Caribbean and Jazz music, along with gourmet food trucks and beverage pavilions.
“The government will facilitate small loans to encourage culinary entrepreneurs and to encourage the development of innovative food truck offerings,” Minnis announced during the wrap up to the budget debate on Monday.
“The Downtown Nassau Partnership will collaborate with local event planners, local entertainers and the Bahamas Culinary Association to create an event we can all be proud of.
“Proper health and sanitization protocols will be enforced.
“We expect that ‘Downtown Under The Stars’ will become an annual event that will cater to residents and visitors alike and will assist the process of transforming downtown into a world class entertainment and culinary destination.”
The government plans to reopen its borders to commercial carriers on July 1, though there have been suggestions in quarters that expectations of an influx in significant numbers of visitors should be tapered.
In a June 22 investor report, Moody’s estimated tourism could decline between 35 and 50 percent this year before rebounding next year.
Meanwhile, as the country’s enters ‘Phase 5’ of its reopening restaurants have been permitted to resume indoor seating with social distancing protocols, with the exception of Arawak Cay, which must keep to curbside service and outdoor seating with social distancing.
On Monday, Minnis acknowledged the challenge in stimulating the economy and creating employment opportunities amid the global slowdown.
Jobs were also lost as a result of Hurricane Dorian last September.
Minnis said: “It is the primary moral responsibility of my government to aid the tens of thousands of Bahamians in need of jobs, social assistance, food and tangible hope. It is our historic obligation to restore and to transform our Bahamas.“