Director of Labour John Pinder is stressing the importance of maintaining and adhering to covid-19 safety protocols, in order to help revive the Bahamian economy.
“As long as the business establishment keeps the social distancing in place to ensure that people are wearing their masks, ensure that persons who come sanitize and that we do all that we can to ensure that there is a low risk in the environment in which people are visiting.
“I think it’s a possibility that once certain business hours increase it shouldn’t be affected, certainly those drive through and the persons who are operating on the outside, I believe we can possibly look at extending some of those business hours” Pinder said.
Ten p.m. to 5 a.m. is the mandatory curfew on most islands although the emergency powers covid-19 orders extended the curfew in Abaco two hours earlier to 8 p.m. for a two-week period.
Pinder who has had dialogue with the business community says many business owners are eager for the capital’s curfew to be further extended, so by extension their businesses can be open longer.
“A lot of their businesses especially those restaurants and people who offer entertainment, their businesses don’t really pick up until late evening when people get off from work.
“The problem is that can only happen until 9 o’clock I think is the maximum time now.
“So if you get off from work, you go home and shower and you catch yourself and come out at eight you only have one hour, so people would rather just stay in, which is what we are trying to encourage anyhow; the less people out there, the less chances of these number increasing” he said.
On the other hand, to keep their businesses profitable and employ more people, Pinder says they need more operating hours.
He says if New Providence can consistently keep its covid-19 numbers down, officials would be moved to extend the curfew further.
“We’ve done it for Freeport so far, Freeport has shown some level of discipline, they go until 11.
“I believe once New Providence can keep its numbers down, we may go to 11, 12 soon too” Pinder said.