NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Private sector representatives yesterday welcomed Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ announcement that many businesses on New Providence will be able to resume normal activity on August 31.
Jeffrey Beckles, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employer’s Confederation’s chief executive described the news as “much more encouraging and positive” for the business community.
“This is much more positive and encouraging for the business community across the board here in Nassau and across the country. It speaks to the fact that the Chamber continues to work to ensure that the cries of the private sector are heard. We heard a lot of that in the Prime Minister’s address. The wider public is happy I’m sure but the business community is very happy that we can almost get back to full operating mode.”
He added, “Our thrust has always been to to see businesses get back up and running and getting people back to work in a safe environment. It is important for us to continue to work together on the enforcement of protocols. That will determine whether we remain open with fewer restrictions.”
Prior to his address, the Office of the Prime Minister issued a statement indicating that effective today a daily 10pm to 5am curfew would be in place for several islands including Grand Bahama, with the a number of commercial activities being allowed.
Dr Minnis said yesterday, “To continue to slow the current spread of the virus on New Providence, the current provisions that are in place will remain in place until 5 am, Monday 31st August 2020. In order to give business owners time to put the necessary measures in place, and to be able to properly plan your activities, please note that effective 5 am, Monday, 31st August 2020, many businesses on New Providence will be able to resume normal activity with appropriate physical distancing measures.”
Minnis added, “We are all living through the worst economic crisis in more than 70 years. I will give a major National Address with emphasis on the economy in short order. We are working on a revised detailed phased plan to boost jobs and economic growth domestically, even as we plan for the reopening of our vital tourism sector, which is dependent on conditions at home and abroad.”
Mark Turnquest, a local small business consultant who is spearheading a march of small business owners planned for September 4 told Eyewitness News that despite the Prime Minister’s announcement the march will continue. Turnquest said he has applied to police commissioner Paul Rolle to stage the march between Arawak Cay and Parliament Square and back again.
“What the march will do is solidify the approach for a sustainable, comprehensive focus on small businesses. After I get the information from the commission of police either yay or nay I will say more but the march will continue one way or the other,” Turnquest told Eyewitness News.