Retailers relieved over chance for survival

Retailers relieved over chance for survival
Downtown Nassau. (FILE PHOTO)

Small and medium-sized businesses were losing 75 percent of their sales

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Retailers last night expressed relief that they have been “given a chance to survive” by getting the green light to allow customers in their establishments once again.

During his national address on Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced that “the retail sector, including pharmacies, may resume in-store services Monday to Saturday following the protocols prepared by The Bahamas Federation of Retailers and certified by the Ministry of Health.”

The BFR, which represents over 100 local retailers, last month warned that local retailers could not continue to operate under curbside restrictions, adding that over 20,000 jobs were “on the line”.

In a statement last night, the BFR said: “We are heartened and relieved that the prime minister in conjunction with the Ministry of Health (MOH) has given permission to the retail sector for us to open our doors once again to our valuable customers in-store.

“The retail community is beyond thrilled to get back to work, but recognize we have a long road ahead. There were many business closures about to be announced this coming week if unable to resume regular operations.

“These businesses will now be given the chance to survive under extremely challenging times.”

The BFR continued: “The Health and Safety protocols outlined by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and suggested by members of the Bahamas Federation of Retailers (BFR) are imperative to remaining open.

“We encourage our members to continue following these protocols and thank everyone for the tremendous support and feedback over the last several months.

“We certainly appreciate your commitment and compliance that ensures we remain sustainable and open for our employees and customers as we head into this critical holiday season. The BFR stands ready to assist with educational initiatives to facilitate safety measures for the retail sector in order to stay open safely, systematically, and sustainably.”

Local small businesses consultant Mark Turnquest said yesterday that small and medium-sized businesses were losing 75 percent of their sales due to what he called “ridiculous” curbside restrictions.

The removal of those restrictions he said would bring losses down to roughly 40 percent.

Still, Turnquest, the head of the Small Business Association said many SMEs were facing a bleak Christmas and that many had already written-off 2020.