By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
Family Island businesses yesterday said The Bahamas must learn to live with COVID-19 as it did with HIV in the early 1980s amid an ongoing infection spike in their communities.
Dennis Adderley, Andros Distributors’ general manager, told Tribune Business that Bahamians have to adjust to COVID-19 much as they did when HIV became a major global health concern in the 1980s, calling it the “facts of life”.
He said: “This has not really hit me hard because I’m in the grocery business, so basically I’ve been open. There was a time we had restricted hours but this hasn’t impacted me.”
Mr Adderley added that most of his business is conducted online, and he does not have to travel to New Providence to deal with suppliers. This means he can reduce his exposure to strangers who may be carrying COVID-19.
Backing the Government’s position that further lockdowns are not needed, he added, though, that it “cannot be business as usual” and plans to strengthen his COVID-19 protocols. “We will keep safe distance, and when we go out we only go out to open air spaces. These places with confined space, we just don’t go there,” Mr Adderley said.
“This thing is real and it’s not some conspiracy to get everybody vaccinated. People need to remember their history. We only live because of vaccines. We’ve had polio, measles, mumps, smallpox the black plague and the Spanish flu. These things have impacted the society in great numbers. We just need to get ahead of this COVID-19.”
Christopher Cates, owner of the Lumber Shed on Eleuthera, said: “We have resigned ourselves to having to deal with life on a daily basis. COVID-19 is going to be with us from here on out and you just have to live with it. I’m sad for the loss of life, but life goes on and we have to do what we have to do.
“All of the business people here on the island go to work every day and we do what we have to do. The sanitising stations are in place, people wear masks for the most part. This last outbreak seems to have stemmed from the General Election in September, because when I drive to Bannerman Town down to Gregory Town I can see evidence of persons respecting the protocols.”
Stephen Cartwright, owner/operator of Nagua Springs in Inagua, added: “This COVID-19 spike came down here with the last general election. All of the people from the PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) camp, all of the people who are dying are PLPs.
“When people were flying in and out from Nassau into MICAL, it left the entire MICAL constituency contaminated. There wasn’t just one person that came to Inagua and did it. You should see the people over in Mayaguana. They had five people die already and they only have about 50 people on the island.”