News Report: Chamber welcomes later curfew

by Paige McCartney, The Nassau Guardian - 03 December 2020

The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) yesterday welcomed the further easing of restrictions, noting that a later curfew would translate into smaller crowds during the busy holiday shopping season.

On Tuesday, the newest emergency order was released, which eased restrictions on several islands in the country and implemented a new 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on New Providence, Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Additionally, grocery stores were granted permission to now open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays on New Providence.

“It is welcomed news for the Chamber, particularly because businesses are still reeling from the impact of COVID-19 and the fact that because the holiday season is upon us, it means that businesses can operate for longer periods of time with curfews being extended to 10 p.m. Ultimately, that will lead to businesses being able to service their customers in a manner that won’t encourage crowding,” BCCEC Chairperson Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson told Guardian Business yesterday.

“Crowding at any establishment is not welcomed activity during this time.”

Countless local businesses held seasonal sales over the past weekend, which mirrored Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, which usually follow the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.

Asked how business fared during this period, Rutherford-Ferguson said, “It’s still a work in progress. Of course, businesses have not seen revenues anywhere near to what they would have seen in the past, however you do have an uptick in consumers who are coming into stores. I guess particularly, too, because we’re all seeing the numbers of COVID-19 cases are showing a steady decline, so I definitely want to acknowledge the fact that there is a continued downward trend in positive COVID-19 cases, which bodes well for consumer confidence. Unfortunately, you do have persons who are deciding to shop abroad, but in that vein, of course the Chamber always supports shopping local,” she said.

“It’s important to make a connection between shopping locally, job creation and economic recovery. There are countless studies on the fact that every dollar that’s earned and spent locally impacts our economy in a positive way; much greater than just earning the salary here and then spending those dollars abroad.”

The Ministry of Health reported only two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The prime minister said the eased restrictions were as a result of the reduced number of cases.

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