Covid-19 Eden Plaza retailers try to weather the Covid-19 storm as outlets re-open | 19 February 2021
Earlier during the week, retail outlets received the green light from the department of health to re-open to customers, provided that they observe and adopt specific guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19.
Since early January, following the confirmation of the first cases of community transmission, President Wavel Ramkalawan announced a series of measures aimed at curbing the propagation of the Covid-19 infection, including the temporary closure of all retail outlets in the country.
Now back in business, the retailers have to use a checklist prepared by the Public Health Authority (PHA) in consultation with the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) to review the conditions of their establishments and ensure that they meet public health standards.
Once self-assessment is completed and business owners are certain that they meet the criteria they can complete and submit their forms to Public Health Services.
After receiving applications, public health officers will conduct a visit and validate the assessment, while permission to resume operations will be extended if all criteria are met.
Described as the island’s ‘Ultimate Shopping Destination’ the Eden Plaza which harbours a vast majority of our local trade outlets has also been shaken by the pandemic, while retailers will need to work hard to encourage consumers back into stores.
The once popular modern commercial precinct which attracted both tourists and locals alike is now deserted and literally a ghost town as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
Seychelles NATION paid a visit to the plaza yesterday to get the views of some of the retailers who have received the green lights, as well as those who are still waiting for the go-ahead from the department of health.
Pamela Coopoosamy – Island Living Furniture Shop (specialises in furniture textiles and home decorations)–“Well to begin with, I am still waiting for the confirmation visit from the health authority since I have already completed all the formalities, including setting up my log book, marking the distances on the floor, made available hand sanitisers and also digital thermometer. The shop has definitely lost in terms of sale, while the normal expenses such as rent still remains. I am a very positive and patient person who has been through the worse in life and I am very hopeful that with the cooperation of everyone, things will definitely pick up for the better, not only for me, but for everyone else.”
Christine Payet – Quicksilver Seychelles (specialises in surf wear and clothing) – “Since the re-opening earlier during the week, sales have been very, very slow, compared to the usual business. We used to be very busy with both tourists and locals alike, but now it is practically dead. I am not sure whether the people are not aware of the re-opening, but I hope that with more publicity, business will pick up, even if it might take a while before we get back to where we were prior to the pandemic.”
Stephanne Burkhalter – Concept Studio (specialises in home decor and design) – “First of all, sales have gone down considerably, or completely I can say. Secondly, since we also carry out big projects for clients such as coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, private houses and many others, our orders have decreased up to 90 percent. Even for upcoming projects, there is really no view right now, until the current situation is put under control. The main focus now is on finding solutions for the problem and since we are re-opening soon, I am very optimistic that things will get better, even if it will take some time.”
Jennifer Isnard – Jayne Clothing (specialises in fashion and accessories) – “We have completed all our formalities and received the go ahead for re-opening, but since 90 percent of our clientele is based on tourism, it has been very quiet so far. We basically open just be present and waiting for things to get better. Maybe the people do not know that Eden Island is open and since the banks which brought a lot of people here are closed, that may also be a reason behind the quietness here. Even the people you see around here are those who live on Eden and there are no new faces. But I have high hopes that soon things will improve and slowly we will crawl back.”
Calvin Laurette –The Fishing Specialist (specialises in fishing equipment) – “We have been opened since receiving the green light and to date, business has been very slow. Every now and then we get a client, but most of the time it is very quiet. Since we usually get both foreign and local clients, I think the main issue here is advertisement. The local fishermen are not aware that we have re-opened. I can understand when it comes to tourists, but we also get a lot of local fishermen who buy their equipment and tools from us. I think the authority needs to inform members of the public about the latest developments in relation to the restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic.”