More needs to be done for the BVI’s heavily tourism-reliant sister-islands to be able to survive following the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions put in place.
This is the view of Opposition Leader, Marlon Penn, who said a balance needs to be found for businesses to operate safely given the current constraints.
Speaking on JTV’s The Big Story recently, he noted that other countries around the world have been able to strike this balance, even with the number of cases that they have in place.
The latest round of COVID
-19 restrictions was implemented last month after the BVI experienced an unprecedented surge in positive cases, resulting in a community spread and more than 30 COVID
-19 related deaths being recorded.
According to Penn, the BVI’s tourism industry has been hit the hardest since the onset of COVID
“My heart bleeds for the sister islands,” Penn said. “I continue to say that we have to find a way to give some support to the sister islands more than ever because they, in particular, are the ones who are hurting because of their dependence on tourism.”
Penn made calls for similar concessions – such as those given to resorts like Oil Nut Bay and Scrub Island – to also be conferred on the neighbouring islands.
Penn said some of these resorts allow patrons to dine in at their restaurants but this is not extended to many other restaurants who are restricted to take-out only services across the territory.
And with the latest restrictions in place, Penn said tourists are now visiting the sister islands but have nothing to do.
The Opposition Leader said he is not asking for persons to be irresponsible, adding that he continues to be a strong advocate for persons to follow established health protocols.
“We have to find a way to live with COVID
-19 and it means for us to be coming up with safe and creative procedures for people to continue their livelihoods and businesses have to respect those procedures when they go in place,” Penn stated.