Businesses which continue to operate without authorization from Government will be dealt with harshly.
That assurance has come from Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland, amidst reports that some businesses have re-opened despite not being given permission to do so.
In announcing the move to Phase 2 last week and an easing of the 24-hour curfew, Prime Minister Mia Mottley revealed that from May 4, select businesses would be allowed to reopen.
However, she said an assessment would be done to determine whether a wider cross-section of businesses would be allowed to re-open from May 18, as part of Phase 3.
These would include, but are not limited to, restaurants, entertainment facilities, clothing stores, barbers, and beauty stores.
However, speaking to members of the media following a two-hour tour of the Bridge Supermarket at Charles Rowe Bridge, St George and Massy Stores Supermarket in Warrens, Sutherland maintained that once those businesses allegedly committing the offence were identified the proper action would be taken.
“The Government that I am part of is a very serious Government. While we are transparent and we value all stakeholders we still don’t value recklessness, we treat with indiscipline. I am certain the Attorney General who has the responsibility for certification in terms of which businesses should be operating, once it is known to him and it is known to the Government, the Sub-Committee of Cabinet will investigate and I know they will address the manner in a holistic way, in a way so as not to cause any animosity and also to let businesses know that it is not business as usual,” Sutherland said.
“We have to adhere to the protocols that have been put in place to stem the spread of this virus and if it means closing down businesses I guarantee that is open to the Attorney General through the Emergency Management Act and he will institute it.”
His comments have come just 24 hours after COVID-19 Czar Richard Carter raised similar concerns about some operators flouting the law.
Carter said public service vehicle (PSV) operators and other businesses had not been following the guidelines set out by Government.
“We have seen on the roads of Barbados levels of indiscipline displayed by many people. We have seen businesses engaging in levels of indiscipline in terms of opening in spite of the restrictions,” he pointed out yesterday.
Businesses which have been given the green light to re-open are those involved in construction and mining, landscaping services, food and beverages manufacturing and retailing, supermarkets, finance and insurance companies, automotive stores and workshops and those which provide legal and accounting services.
Also authorized to conduct business from May 4, are those offering garden and pool services, electronic stores, retailers of baby products and building supplies, beauty supply stores, pet services and supplies, safety equipment, security products and services, education suppliers, dry cleaning and laundry services, distribution and printing supplies, delivery companies, health and medicine services along with tradesmen, such as joiners and carpenters. [email protected]