By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
A LOCAL retailer is calling on the government to further ease COVID-19 restrictions on businesses in the clothing industry, saying the current curbside and delivery services are not working.
Speaking to The Tribune yesterday, the store’s representative — who asked to have her identity and that of the store withheld for fear of backlash — said the restrictions have made it difficult for the company to keep its “doors open” and staff employed.
Even with the new guidelines recently implemented by the government, she said the situation has not been made any easier.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis moved the country to phase 1b of his administration’s plan of re-opening from the COVID-19 lockdown, which allows businesses to offer pick-up and delivery services if they are able to do so.
On Sunday, Dr Minnis said officials have already started implementing components of Phase 2. However, according to the store representative, the curbside services have not been working. “We’re able to do (curbside) but it’s just not working,” she said yesterday. “We’ve been open for many years and the government is killing us. We’re trying to keep all our staff employed and we’re trying to keep our doors open and it would be a shame to see a business as old as ours go out of business.
“There’s not that many businesses here that have longevity… How is it that I can’t have one customer come into my store and buy a shirt? When it comes to apparel, they want to try things on.”
The representative said while she understands the measures are necessary to contain the spread of the virus, she feels officials should allow garment retailers to conduct in-store operations to facilitate more business.
She maintained that business owners would adhere to the social distancing guidelines by limiting the number of customers inside the stores. “I know of many other businesses who are allowing others in the store and plenty of them are around the island and I agree with (them) because they should adhere to the health codes of letting in two people at a time, but we’re not able to do that,” she said. “I mean we would adhere to the health procedures but, there’s no social distancing at the banks, none of the food stores and none at Lowe’s pharmacy so what’s the difference of having 60 people crammed in at the food store to one person inside of our shop?”
She continued: “Nothing makes sense… there’s zero evidence that COVID sticks to soft surfaces. There’s actually evidence (stating) that it does not like soft surfaces or fabric so for the government to say ‘oh it sticks to clothes’. It doesn’t stick to clothes it sticks to hard surfaces.”