PM Says No to Opening of Liquor Stores

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Dr. Minnis responds to Davis’ suggestion of lifting liquor store ban emergency order

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said on Sunday that liquor stores will remain closed during the emergency order, despite complaints by some Bahamians and pressure from the opposition party.

At a press conference to reveal three new COVID19 cases, Dr. Minnis said the government’s decision to impose the closure of liquor stores during the order is based on data and advice from medical professionals, and not Opposition Leader, Philip Davis.

In a statement on Sunday, Opposition Leader Philip Davis said liquor stores are no different than grocery stores and opening them would help with employment, during the national lock down.

“The spirits industry should be allowed to operate in the manner as food stores and take away restaurants. This will save the jobs of many who have been laid off, while easing the added pressure on law enforcement officers to police these establishments,” he said.

In a meeting with his party members on Sunday, Davis said his concerns came out of his party’s “concern about the poor.”

He continued,”We think that there are some measures which need to be taken to address the social needs of our people in this emergency and to ensure that everyone has food, income protection, mortgage and debt relief and rental support, while we are going through this emergency.”

Davis said while the COVID-19 pandemic is this is a national emergency “like no other,”  the opposition is cooperating with all of the measures that are being put in place and understands that they are in keeping with the World Health Organisation’s best practices. However, he said, the economic fallout as a result of the pandemic is of great concern to his party.

“As the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis intensifies, we will continue to call for economic relief for the most vulnerable and marginalized among us who continue to be hardest hit by this crisis. “I suggested to the Prime Minister to negotiate a reimbursement plan for the payment of salaries by hotel employers to their displaced workers to avoid interruption with their salaries.

“Some of the qualifying conditions for NIB benefits should be revisited as workers in the retail sectors continue to complain about access and eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. “The economic relief package to small and medium sized businesses should also be revisited to include public grants to stave off any further stalling of the economy. He added that his party would wish to have “access to the medical expert advice that the cabinet is privy to, the advice that is informing the government’s policy on the COVID-19 crisis.”

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