Berbice Chamber says business closures would result in harsh economic implications

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Most of the stalls in the New Amsterdam Market are closed

The Government cannot support businesses, if they remain closed, hence it must find ways to work along with the Private Sector so that those businessmen and women can earn an income to offset expenses.

As such, the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association (BCCDA) has recommended the Regional Health Emergency Committee (RHEC) urge the National COVID-19 Task Force to report accurately on the virus in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne). The Chamber believes that the Region is COVID-19 free.

In addition, the body says closing businesses will have harsh economic implications.

On Thursday last, 2418 persons crossed the Berbice Bridge and were screened, but 34 were taken for secondary screening since their temperature exceeded 38 degrees Celsius.

Region Six has, so far, only recorded one positive COVID-19 case, which was imported from the US.

BCCDA Vice President Ryan Alexander says that the Health Department has been doing a good job in terms of controlling the outbreak.

“I know that the Mayor of New Amsterdam has been the first person to ask for a shutdown and when the shutdown was instituted, supported by the Chamber in Region Six, the rest of the country was somewhat still open. This was followed by the National Task Force month shutdown which has been extended to a second month, but we have concerns as it related to the … data.”

He noted that the Chamber was of the view that some of the recommendations coming out of the Region as it pertained to economic activity should be adapted.

“… as it relates to the economic side of things. We are trying to balance the economic side in relation to the health pandemic that we have,” the Vice President explained.

Meanwhile, many stores which some consider ‘essential’ are being forced to close. Others argue that there should be a level playing field.

In New Amsterdam, many businesses were forced to close as part of COVID-19 regulations, but businesses of a similar nature in Rose Hall and Corriverton remain open.

The New Amsterdam municipality had reopened the municipal market for all businesses, but the Police moved to shut down the stalls that do not provide an essential service.

Soon after, the Town Council ordered that the stalls be reopened.

Alexander reminded that prior to the pandemic, businesses in Region Six had been suffering because of lost employment and the current political climate. Hence, persons need the opportunity to earn so that they can keep themselves and families viable.