GCCI to approach COVID-19 Task Force to have non-essential businesses re-open


Almost a month into the COVID-19 measures, including a dusk to dawn curfew, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) is assessing the impact on businesses and non-essential businesses in particular are hoping to craft a way for them to reopen for a specific time while not putting customers or staff at risk of contracting the virus.

President of the GCCI Nicholas Boyer, in an interview with the News Room, said recommendations will be made to the National COVID-19 Task Force to allow non-essential businesses to operate.

He said businesses and economy are suffering and it remains a challenge to maintain a business during a lock down.

“It is going to be a challenge trying to maintain a business during lockdown past a month and having staff on payroll and having no sales,” Boyer noted.

President of the GCCI Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer

The GCCI is proposing that non-essential businesses that are involved in retail and wholesale reopen for a stipulated time.

“The most immediate effect were on the tourism and hospitality industry and after them it was the retail and wholesale industry for things like clothes and household items or things that are not essential,” Boyer said.

They are over 300 businesses that are members of GCCI with 20% of those businesses being wholesale and retail.

But as Guyana’s coronavirus cases continue to go up, Boyer noted that it is delicate situation and as such would also be requesting that the Guyana Police Force play a more stringent role in ensuring that these businesses are in compliance.

“You need somebody to enforce the social distancing, I wouldn’t be in favour of arresting people or fining people but just being there,” Boyer said.

The GCCI will also be conducting surveys to determine the unemployment rate due to the coronavirus. Boyer highlighted that the unemployment was not just due to the coronavirus.

“I am estimating that you would see a 25-35% of a business payroll being cut which translates to physical persons losing their jobs. Business owners would have experienced a slowdown in business since the elections on March 02. It went from elections slow down to a coronavirus slowdown, and the coronavirus was far worse than the elections slow down.”

Meanwhile, according to Boyer businesses are seeing sales and revenues at about 50% of what it was last year. The GCCI will be educating its members on best practices from advanced economies during this pandemic.





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