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Jan 14, 2021

Preparations Ahead of Free Zone Reopening

As we reported on Tuesday, in two weeks, after almost a year of dormancy, the Corozal Free Zone will reopen for business. Viewers will recall that in the first quarter of 2020, the Zone was closed to prevent the re-introduction of COVID-19 through the northern border, and all its economic activity came to a screeching halt.  Despite discussions of an eventual reopening, a definitive date was never set.  Hundreds of workers had to been sent home and some may have presumably moved on to other employment.  With preparations now underway for the resumption of activity on February first, Vice Chairman of the Corozal Free Zone, Anil Hotchandani, told News Five that reopening means strict adherence new measures that will be put in place in the coming days.

 

On the Phone: Anil Hotchandani, Vice Chairman, Corozal Free Zone

“The management of the free zone and the government have taken a very serious approach to get the free zone opened as they know that the situation of the Corozal Free Zone has been dire because its been closed for almost a year and theres a lot a stake.  Theres a lot at stake.  So at the moment, preparations are being made when it refers to safety.  The free zone management is in consultation with the health department to put in all the safety protocols in place.  First of all, we are putting in the channel where all the walk-in employees they will be sanitized with the, you know, theyve got to do a walkthrough when they enter in.  Mask wearing is a must, hand washing, basins are being installed outside of every business, plus a person from the health department has been designated, a health officer who has to go to each and every business and certify whether they can be open or not.  So if they find any business not in compliance with the safety measures, they will not be allowed to open.  So this is where preparations as we speak are happening to put all these things in place for the opening.  They had made a promise to open up the free zone and when they actually got into government they got to understand where the situation was with the pandemic and with what’s happening in the free zone.  I think that had tried to open it earlier on, they wanted the free zone to be opened by Christmas but that was not possible because the cases of the various were still around and it was not possible for them to have made good on that promise earlier.  But they have looked at it slowly and they have come to an understanding that a lot of these safety measures need to be put in place.  Now the question was, who foots the bill?  So they were in consultation with the Chamber of Commerce of the Corozal Free Zone and they came up with a formula, the government and the chamber, that the business community would be making some contribution towards this, not all upfront, its just a commitment based on importations that have taken place.”


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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