Bay Street Faces Shop Closure Threat


Tribune Business Editor


With thousands of cruise ship visitors expected in Nassau on Monday, the Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP) said it was “critical” that the Cabinet Office relent and allow Bay Street retailers and other amenities to open on the Emancipation Day holiday.

Responding to Tribune Business’s inquiries, after the Cabinet Office yesterday published a notice warning that all retailers - apart from food stores, pharmacies and gas stations - “must be kept closed” on Monday, the DNP said it had written to the Government on the matter.

Pointing out that Bay Street and downtown Nassau stores had received exemptions from the Public Holidays Act closure requirements in the past, via the Nassau Tourism and Development Board’s (NTDB) representation, the DNP said it was seeking a “permanent change” to the law to allow this.

If Bay Street retailers and associated amenities are not allowed to open on Monday, they and their staff face losing out on potentially thousands of dollars in revenue.

And Nassau’s reputation as a tourist destination, with lots of things to do, could also suffer. The DNP confirmed that the cruise industry had expressed its concerns over the issue, and two ships - Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, with a 6,000 passenger capacity, and Carnival’s Ecstasy, are due to call in the Bahamian capital on Monday.

The DNP told Tribune Business: “As the Downtown Nassau Partnership works on initiatives to beautify and revitalise downtown, we think it is critical that shopping and amenities continue to be able to provide the services demanded by downtown’s guests - both locals and tourist alike.

“The store closure, as mandated by Section 3 of the Public Holiday Act, will certainly have an impact on the cruise and tourism industry. Our destination needs to continue to be opened for business, so that we can compete with our counterparts in the industry.”

And the DNP added: “Shop closures will impact the ability for retailers to earn revenues. In an already challenging retail market, it is important that all businesses have their maximum exposure to customers when they are here.

“With two cruise ships in port on Monday, Allure of the Seas and Carnival Ecstasy, we are looking at a few thousand cruise ship guests that will be in Downtown Nassau.”

Tribune Business understands that the Cabinet Office notice caused consternation among in-port and shipping agents of the cruise line, who wanted to know whether they should advise their clients that Nassau will be a closed city on Monday.

Acknowledging the historical precedent, the DNP said such situations had happened before. It added that Bay Street and downtown retailers had been exempted from the Public Holidays Act in the past, and it is understood the DNP and government are now talking on the current issue.

“This has happened before, and the Cabinet Office certainly has the ability to allow stores to open up,” the DNP told Tribune Business.

“In fact, the Nassau Tourism & Development Board has written to seek exemption for stores in downtown to open up on public holidays in the past, and it has been granted.

“The Downtown Nassau Partnership seeks the Government’s support to amend the Act to allow all stores in the Downtown area to remain open during public holidays to service both locals and visitors.

“Our partners in the cruise industry have expressed their concern to us, and even today we wrote to the Cabinet seeking clarification on the same, and have requested on behalf of the retailers in Downtown to consider having stores opened on public holidays as a permanent change.”


moncurcool 8 years, 8 months ago

How backward are we? In the 21st century, the government is mandating people to close their businesses on a holiday. I guess this is no longer free enterprise.


nationbuilder 8 years, 8 months ago

Why would we want a harbour full of tourists to come in to an empty, closed-down Bay Street? That's ridiculous. Why don't we just put a sign at the harbour saying "no tourists wanted or needed" while we're at it? Whatever the country did with Logic, can yall please go find him and bring him back???? (shakes head)


concernedcitizen 8 years, 8 months ago

logic got lost when they couldn,t find the throne


LinseyTaylor 8 years, 8 months ago

I hope all of the stores that want to open are allowed. I hope that there is no underhand business going on where only a few stores would be notified that they could open.


positiveinput 8 years, 8 months ago

When will our law makers notice that as time goes by, our laws need also to evolve to keep up with changing time.


bahamasoapmama 8 years, 8 months ago

When will we stop voting for the EXACT SAME politicians?


paul_vincent_zecchino 8 years, 8 months ago

Uncannily as with the regressive regime stateside, doesn't it seem there's a fixation to drag us back to the dark old daze of the late 60s-early 70s - the heyday of these activists?

Why so few at the top wish to herd citizens back to an era which none in their right minds wish to revisit, isn't so much a mystery. The motives are old and tediously predictable.

As Cuban-American friends say, "We've seen this movie before, and it doesn't end well."

Paul Vincent Zecchino Manasovietskiya Ortova, Florida 04 August, 2012


Puzzled 8 years, 8 months ago

Is that why the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship was only in the harbour for just over an hour on Saturday or is something strange going on?


hunkaloo 8 years, 8 months ago

The Bahamas is mainly a tourist oriented country. It seems to me that Government would try to take advantage of this, as much as possible.Whoever, from the Cabinet office, sent out the notice restricting to only food stores, pharmacies and gas stations, just were not thinking straight. Nassau as the capital, should be able to open Bay Street to the tourists on holidays. But, don't forget, there are other 'tourist destinations' within the Bahamas. ANY tourist-related business throughout the country, should be allowed to open(restaurants, souvenir stores and the list goes on). Let's get it together, Bahamas!


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