Arawak Cay was busy last Friday.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
ARAWAK Cay vendors are hopeful the popular dining spot will not be closed again despite some patrons’ behaviour over the weekend. Pictures and videos showed customers not wearing masks or social distancing when operations were allowed to resume on Friday.
On Monday, health officials told The Tribune they found the behaviour “concerning” and “disturbing”.
However when contacted for comment, Arawak Cay Conch, Fish, Vegetable & Food Vendors Association president Rodney Russell told The Tribune the videos being circulated did not have anything to do with his members’ establishments but said they showed people near the beach park at Arawak Cay, located east of Fish Fry, where measures were not being followed.
When his concerned members called him about the matter, he said it was the responsibility of the police to enforce the rules at Arawak Cay.
“Now the police were aware of the loud music that was going up there and what was going on,” he said. “Whereas the police on the other hand were busy watching the vendors at the Fish Fry and somehow ignore those group of persons up the street and then the video came out and (people said) it was the Fish Fry.”
Mr Russell said his members have tried their best to comply with all the government’s wishes and have no idea what occurred a few feet away. He said there should be a discussion to iron out problems to continue to business in the area. However he said his members should not be penalised.
He said: “Persons in the Fish Fry who’ve been following all the guidelines, following the rules, following the government’s wishes – why should they be penalised for those persons who have not followed the rules?”
Metellus Chipman, proprietor of an Arawak Cay eatery, admitted he was not present when the situation in question occurred. However, he said what was captured on video was just a snapshot of what occurred at the area.
“You catch the video at that particular time but what was going on before that time? What was going on 10-15 minutes before that time? That crowd might have gathered for that time for that particular moment.”
He added: “I’m excited to be back out. I’m sure other fellow Bahamians are the same way, so if all Bahamians are excited to come to our beach and celebrate with one of their family members or friends who they haven’t seen in a little while – you gonna have a boost of excitement for a minute. Then, it’s gonna die down and go back to what it’s suppose to be.”
Ricardo Williams, owner of Drifters at Da’ Fry, said although the videos and pictures that were circulating were concerning, he felt the innocent should not have to take the fall.
“I mean it is a concern but hopefully we start to look (at) addressing the person that violated the protocols versus trying to do a sweeping shut down of everyone because I mean obviously why should the innocent again suffer for the guilty,” he said. “If we don’t make the persons accountable who need to be accountable, they’ll never take the measures they need to.”
Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay were allowed to resume operations on Friday, with outdoor dining only.