The economy of Grand Bahama was in a grave situation before coronavirus reared its head globally. Because of the prevalence of the coronavirus worldwide, and with several cases having been diagnosed here in The Bahamas, the government has put in place a curfew (9pm-5 am until Mach 31) and directed that many businesses close, or, shorten work hours.
Thus far, the Government of the Bahamas, under the control of a Free National Movement administration, has taken steps that cannot be faulted, regarding coronavirus. The national state of emergency declared, however, has caused a great hike in unemployment.
Thousands of workers will be out of salaries for an indefinite period. Major hotels, throughout the country, Atlantis, Baha Mar (in New Providence); we understand that Sandals, also in the capital island; and Club Med in San Salvado; have suspended operations as well.
Here in Grand Bahama the government-owned Lighthouse Pointe was still in operation starting the week. so, was Pelican Bay. Castaways closed on Tuesday. Royal Islander, Island Seas and Wyndham Club Fortuna had not confirmed closure. However, the work force in restaurants and lounges have been impacted in concerning numbers.
This is a necessary development and, again, the government has our support. The reality of the overall situation is not one that gives comfort. Instead, this a dismal time for Grand Bahama. Businesses that were just trying to get going again, after Dorian, are in the category of closed shops, due to the state of emergency. Persons who had just found jobs, have been let go, understandably so.
If a business place is not making money, it can’t afford to pay salaries.
What the country need, is a financial stimulus.
How much more can Grand Bahama take?
The people of Grand Bahama personify resilience/perseverance. They buckle down and withstand the tides of disasters. The present situation however, has the island at a very low point. If the coronavirus issue persists and goes well beyond March 31, there will be those in dire need of financial packages, to be able to eat, and, just maintain a decent level of existence.
There are actual households with no salaries at all coming in. None of the senior members of some homes are working.
The further unemployment hike is a serious blow to our economy.
This is indeed praying time.