0

COVID like ‘bad nightmare that won’t go away’

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Bahamian businesses were last night bracing for the imposition of additional restrictions to combat “out of control” COVID-19 infection rates, with one saying: “It cannot be business as usual.”

Fred Albury, the Bahamas Motor Dealers Association’s (BMDA) president, told Tribune Business the pandemic “is just like a bad nightmare that won’t go away” while revealing that himself and others are readying for tougher measures such as extended curfews, curb-side sales and weekend lockdowns ahead of the prime minister’s address tonight.

Arguing that these restrictions were “very justifiable” given The Bahamas’ soaring COVID case numbers, with another 118 new infections discovered on Friday following a record 228 detected on Thursday, he added that “the health of the nation must come first and said: “It’s no use making money if you are not alive to enjoy it.”

However, the Prime Minister’s Office, in a statement last night, indicated that no wide-ranging or long-lasting lockdown is being considered as Dr Hubert Minnis seeks to balance livelihoods and the economy’s recovery with public health and saving lives.

“The prime minister has fought throughout the pandemic to get vaccines for Bahamians. He will provide an update on additional vaccine supplies. He continues to work to save lives and livelihoods,” the statement said. “The Bahamian economy has shown remarkable growth in recent months. Bahamians are getting back to work.

“The prime minister wants to protect our economic growth and job creation, ensuring Bahamian businesses can operate responsibly while also protecting public health. The Prime Minister advises Bahamians to keep abiding by the public health rules: Continue to wear masks properly; remain physically distant when out; and to wash or sanitise your hands frequently.”

Mr Albury said he will be watching closely to see what Dr Minnis unveils, and told this newspaper: “Everybody’s expecting there’s going to be some sort of restrictions with extended curfews, weekend lockdowns or a full lockdown. This situation we face is out of control. It cannot be business as usual.

“Most of the young people are not taking this seriously. I was out last Saturday, and there’s a club between Arawak Cay and Saunders Beach and the place was full. We’ve got to stop the gatherings out there to get this thing to slow down. Whether we like it or not, there’s no use making money if you’re not alive to enjoy it. The health of the nation has got to come first.

“In the back of my mind, I feel that’s what has to happen. A lot of people feel the same way, and the statistics are so bad on new case numbers coming out of the Ministry of Health. We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. Other places have locked down. This thing is just like a bad nightmare; it won’t go away. The best we can hope for is a bit of tightening and more people getting vaccinated.”

The Prime Minister’s Office yesterday indicated that the Government plans to shift away from the current COVID-19 Emergency Orders “to a new legislative approach”, which would require the passage of laws to fulfill essentially the same function that they are providing now.

The House of Assembly is being recalled early from its summer recess, which was supposed to last until September 22, to meet tomorrow to table a resolution to extend the existing emergency powers orders beyond their August 13 expiry. The House will then meet on Wednesday to debate and to pass the Resolution.

The Senate will meet the same day, August 10, to table the same resolution and will meet on Thursday to pass it. Mr Albury, meanwhile, said he was trying “to push” all staff at his Auto Mall business to become vaccinated against COVID-19 without mandating or forcing them to do so.

“Every week someone in the office is being tested positive,” he added. “One of our sales ladies is just coming off a serious bout with this. She had to go to the South Beach clinic and be put on a respirator, but is thankfully doing better now.

“We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do, and people are willing to accept that. For at least three weeks, if we’ve got to go back to curb-side sales or take the curfew to 8pm at night and weekends with a lockdown, I think it’s justified; very justified in light of the circumstances.

“When you start to feel like something positive is happening, another COVID variant comes out and we have to deal with it. I go in my office, stay clear of people and after that I go home. I don’t go out anywhere or go socialising.”

Leonard Sands, a former Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) president, told Tribune Business that resorting to lockdowns of the type experienced in 2020 would “be really disastrous” for a surging construction industry that was “pretty much shouldering the economy”.

With much depending on the nature and type of restrictions that the Government may announce, Mr Sands said: “Right now the sector is doing incredibly well. It’s pretty much shouldering the entire economy, construction, so one hopes there is no disruption to its activities at all.”

While contractors and building materials suppliers presently able to engage in business “pretty freely”, he expressed hope that no further restrictions will be imposed despite acknowledging the severity of present COVID-19 case numbers and the potential threat that the health system will be overwhelmed.

“Right now I think it would be really disastrous for the sector if they did that,” he added. “It’s taking everything it could right now. Everyone’s working and we don’t want to see any disruption right now. I think it would be really terrible. I wouldn’t want us to return to locking down or more restrictive measures.

“The economy is just starting to rebound. Let’s not instantly retard business and interrupt the economy.” Mr Sands urged the Government to “step up enforcement”, arguing that this was “weak” and that there was “a lot of relaxation on construction sites” when it came to mask wearing, social distancing and hand sanitisation. 

Comments

birdiestrachan 1 year ago

So Mr: Albury was out. My question would be where did Bishop Hall and Mother Pratt get the Virus? they were not at bars or Arawak cay so this situation needs a closer look.

It is easier to be looked down in a big house with air-conditioning and poolside side chairs than to be in a small house with lots of people and a few fans if one is lucky.

All of this get vaccinated But the Government does not have sufficient vaccine TRUTH BE TOLD.

0

proudloudandfnm 1 year ago

The truth is when we need more vaccines we get more vaccines. Time for this stupid "we don't have enough" argument to just go away.....

And Hall and Pratt probably got it in church...

Poor arguments there Birdie...

0

ThisIsOurs 1 year ago

stupid argument??? How is that a "stupid argument"? They need another 340,000 doses. Thats a very big fact

0

proudloudandfnm 1 year ago

Not at the moment they don't. Fact...

0

baclarke 1 year ago

Fact, i just checked the vaccination register, there are ZERO time slots available.

0

birdiestrachan 1 year ago

MY friend proudloudfnm there is not sufficient vaccine in the country. It is not as simple as you wish or say, "When we need Vaccine we get the vaccine"

I assume your heart is FNM but facts are facts and we can not run away from facts.

0

proudloudandfnm 1 year ago

I seem to remember a vaccine shipment arriving just last week. No logistics professional on earth would order 360,000 doses of a perishable vaccine in one order to supply one of the most vaccine hesitant countries in the Caribbean. You order as you need it. There may be shipping issues, there may be production issues both causing delays but we will in fact get what we need.

So again I say. Time for this stupid, ignorant "we don't have enough" argument to die...

No doubt we will receive another shipment in the near future, then another, then another and so on.

Our problem is antivaxxers, the spread of false information and conspiracy theories not supply....

As for the FNM, I would not vote to re-elect any of these Minnis led FNMs just as I would not vote for any PLP.

Truth is truth, regardless of party...

0

birdiestrachan 1 year ago

The PM struck a pose when 33,600 vaccines came into the Country 5000 of it he has to sent to Antigua and Burbadia as payment for the borrowed vaccine

there are two vaccines required for each so 33,600 less 5,000 is not all that much.

0

tribanon 1 year ago

Are you? Also tell us all about your past and present medical problems, including medications you have taken or may now be taking, your weight, whether you bite your finger nails, have any urinary tract or bladder issues, have poor eyesight, hard on hearing, have any mental issues, sleep disorders.....yes, yes, yes...... tell all of us everything about your health and well-being because that's our business and Minnis would very much like for it to be his business too. Besides, what do you care about medical privacy?

0

Sickened 1 year ago

I'm not vaccinated for Covid. Would prefer to wait as long as I can to see how effective or dangerous the vaccines could be. I have received the MMR vaccines etc. when I was young and the yellow fever a few years ago.

Simple to answer really. Not very personal and no need to go into other medical history.

I ask because mostly morons choose not to say whether they are vaccinated or not. It's very similar to asking if you're married. Only weirdos jump get up in arms about such a simple question.

Are you a moron? Are you vaccinated?

0

tribanon 1 year ago

I respect the medical privacy of others, and you should too.

0

rodentos 1 year ago

the only NIGHTMARE are the governments who abusing science usurp powers.

0

TalRussell 1 year ago

Most of the business people still will not be taking this COVID seriously — Comrade Jeff, should've waited for so late before pronouncing it is not beneficial to the health of the nation which has got to come ahead of the sinful greed of his fellow business likes — yes?

0

Sign in to comment