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Jun 10, 2020

Closure of Entertainment Strip Affects Other Small Businesses

On Tuesday night, you heard about the financial troubles of the owners of night clubs that remain closed due to the COVID-19 lockdown.  On the entertainment strip on Princess Margaret Drive, the once booming businesses are facing loss of income and possibly permanent closure. Food vending and other small businesses owned by enterprising individuals remain closed since April first.  There is talk that curfew hours will be reduced, but there is no indication if this will pave the way for the re-opening of the strip. Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano with a report.



Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The trickle-down effect of monies spent on entertainment, particularly at nightclubs and other establishments on the social scene, has created a group of small, interconnected businesses that depend on late-night activities for their livelihoods.  Outside of Sit N Sip, fast-food vendor Paul “Chicken Dread” Ferguson has made a name for himself and his food truck.  Since the countrywide lockdown came into effect back in April, Ferguson business has also remained closed.


Paul Ferguson

Paul Ferguson, Fast-food Vendor

“I noh di sell no kinda fast-food right now because wih deh pan curfew and like I seh, di peak time for me selling food is like one to four in the morning and dat da when I mek all my money.  And with the club dehn close, nothing noh di go ahn.”


It’s the same predicament that John Doe, who runs an informal, street side carwash, now finds himself.  He makes an honest living by washing vehicles for club goers on the entertainment strip.  All of that is suspended because of the existing curfew.


John Doe, Car Wash

“I am not against the government; I am not against the system of what they’re doing, but I am against what they are trying to pressure people from living and even surviving.  There are many people that need and there are many people that don’t have nothing and once they put a curfew on us from eight until five, many people go home hungry and sleep hungry.”


Of equal concern for Zachary Reich, proprietor of Sit N Sip, is the well-being of his employees.  With the closure of nightclubs, all of his staff has been sent home with no certainty of what comes next in respect of their jobs.


Zachary Reich

Zachary Reich, Proprietor, Sit N Sip

“They are as lost as I am, I guess, in this entire thing.  You know, I guess everyone is trying to do what they can do. We were put in a position not by the government.  We were put in a position not by any one person in particular; however, we were put in a position by the global pandemic that’s going on.  The funny thing with our industry is that we were the first ones that they forced to close.  Tourism came to a halt basically on its own, but we were the first ones that they imposed this closure on and it seems to be that we are going to be the last ones that they are going to open up.”


Until then, there isn’t much that can be done.  Everything inside the establishment remains unused.  Across the street, Ferguson’s food truck is parked but also remains shuttered.


Paul Ferguson

“Ih rough, da wahn tough decision and like I explain to my workers dehn, dehn haftu wait until government open up back di place.  And that da weh we di open up back, especially di nightclubs dehn mein.  If dehn open up back di nightclubs we could mek money and I could continue pay my workers dehn, but right now da lick ah di tek, serious lick.”


Also buckling under the weight of mounting debts is Thirsty Thursday.  Fortunately for Linford Rosado, his relationship with his landlady has allowed him to retain the building amid the ongoing hardship.


Linford Rosado

Linford Rosado, Proprietor, Thirsty Thursday

“We luckily have built good relationships with landlords, with creditors, with people all around, you know, and so that’s how we’ve been managing, by the grace, the good graces of other people.  But that is going to run out.  That is going to run out, my landlord said to me, you know, “There is a pandemic.  Ros, let’s see how it goes.”  But I am quite certain that she wasn’t thinking six months or nine months.  She told me that she was thinking three months maybe, two months maybe.  Now we are headed into four months.  With the state of emergency coming to an end in June, give us an indication, what happens next?”


For now that’s anyone’s guess.


Daniel Schakron

Isani Cayetano

“If there was one appeal that you would want to make to those persons who can make a difference here, what would it be?”


Daniel Schakron, Proprietor, Shisha

“For us to at least open up back with maybe certain measures because we have mothers, we have fathers, we have a lot of people that work at these places and of course they have bills to pay too.  Whoever is in charge of this, we would like them to consider us and consider all the jobs that have partially been lost for this time being.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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