IN contrast to its Trinidad counterpart, the Tobago Business Chamber has endorsed the Prime Minister’s phased approach to lifting the stay-at-home orders in place to curb the spread of covid19.
Speaking with Newsday on Thursday, Tobago Business Chamber chairman Martin George said the chamber recognises the Government’s reopening of the country “is something that could not have been done all at once” as the threat of covid19 still exists.
“In very much the same way that we had a phased closing down, we have to have a phased reopening,” George said.
CEO of the TT Chamber Gabriel Faria last week criticised he Government's plan and called for "low-risk" sectors to be allowed to reopen.
"The cure is worse than the disease...because small businesses are going to close down and never open again," Faria said.
George acknowledged the challenges being experienced by small businesses specifically and the need to bring normalcy back into the economy. But he remains cognisant that the current restrictions are meant to safeguard lives.
“We understand that it is still some pain for small businesses and for independent persons such as barbers, hairdressers, nail salons, beauty shops and all the likes, and we recognise also that some of the smaller businesses would also be under some stress and strain but at the end of the day, sometimes we have to look at the bigger picture in terms of what is good for the lives of people as opposed to just looking at the livelihoods.”
George added: “Of course, a balance has to be struck and we understand and appreciate that but we think that, all in all, when one looks at the plan that has been rolled out by the government thus far, it does appear to be a fair attempt at striking a balance and of course, the Government did indicate that they are willing to make adjustments as things progress.
"At the end of the day, it appears to be a very measured and balanced attempt at a reopening and we certainly support that as the Tobago Business Chamber and our members are definitely in support of the way things are being managed."