Government needs to elaborate on and better justify its position with respect to the continued closure of commercial businesses on Sundays and bank holidays.
Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley made that position clear as calls continue for the Mia Mottley administration to ease Sunday and holiday restrictions in retail.
Last Sunday while speaking at the Barbados Labour Party’s third anniversary virtual mass political meeting, Minister of Health and Wellness
Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic revealed for the first time Barbados had reached its target of 25 cases per 100,000, following a positivity rate of 1.04 per cent during the past week.
“I think the country is craving an explanation as to why the regulation persists with the trends going in the direction which they seem to be. I think Government simply needs to better explain its position, Bishop Atherley said. “I would want to presume that it is based on the guidance of the medical professionals and therefore, if it is, Government needs to better explain that position so the country understands.
“I have said from the beginning I think we need to follow the leading of Government with the assumption that Government is properly being guided by and listening to the advice of the health professionals and if that is the case and they have got some sound reason for continuing the status quo as it is, then they should explain that more fully and properly to the public,” the Opposition Leader and leader of the People’s Party for Democracy and Development told Barbados TODAY.
His comments came on the heels of a call by the Democratic Labour Party’s spokesman on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ryan Walters for a relaxation of the ban on small business given the achievement in the positivity rate.
“We believe that this milestone has signalled the time for the Government to relax the restriction of commercial activity on Sundays. Businesses should be allowed to operate on Sundays with the appropriate protocols in place.
“Micro and small businesses are the ones suffering the most as this closure is causing vendors, landscapers, car valets, hairdressers, barbers, nail technicians and many more to loose out on opportunities to earn muchneeded income.
“Barbados is in a recession, spending down and unemployment is at its highest ever in our history, the Government should not be unnecessarily depriving the sector of getting back on its feet,” Walters said in a statement.
In recent days the Petroleum Dealers Association of Barbados called on Government to allow service stations to sell food items on Sundays and bank holidays.
The association revealed that even after sending home some of its employees due to pandemic losses, the shortfall on Sundays could see even more being placed on the breadline.
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) also appeal for a review of the COVID-19 protocol. President Trisha Tannis argued that keeping the restrictions in place dampens business in an environment that is becoming more expensive. (FW)