Westmoreland Chamber offers options to no-movement daysWednesday, September 08, 2021
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Concerned that the Government-mandated no-movement days are doing more harm than good, the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Industry has put forward suggestions on how to reduce congestion before and after each lockdown.
The chamber has called for supermarkets and grocery stores to be allowed to open their doors at 6:00 am daily, to allow shoppers to get supplies before going to work. It has also suggested curfews from 2:00 pm to 5:00 am on weekdays, that Saturday's 6:00 pm curfew remains, with no movement allowed on Sundays.
“It is the view of the chamber that these recommendations would ease the congestion before and after the no-movement days and allow businesses to breathe a little easier,” said Chamber President Moses Chybar. “The chamber is of the view that adjustments ought to be made to allow for shopping with less congestion, as well as to afford business owners to earn, albeit a reduced income, on the days in question. As it is now, business owners have to pay staff for the no-movement days whilst their businesses are totally closed.”
Prime Minister Andrew Holness advised, during his last address to the country, that the reliance on no-movement days as a tool in the fight against COVID-19 would continue for another two weeks. Like their colleagues in Westmoreland, the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also questioned the effectiveness of that approach.
“Where are the results of the lockdown from [Sunday], Monday and Tuesday? I would like to see it,” demanded Janet Silvera, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
“What we need to do is to put teams together and do proper research in relation to days when we are going to lock down, and we also need to show that what we are doing is working. For me, that makes a lot of sense,” she added.
Silvera described the no-movement days as “almost like an exercise in futility” because of the logistical challenges involved for suppliers, retailers and shoppers. She also urged the Government to put measures in place for families whose income streams are disrupted by the no-movement days, making it challenging for them to purchase groceries.
“If we are going to lock down there has to be some type of social programme that we need to put in place for those who will not be able to get food,” urged Silvera.