COVID-19: Businesses close in municipal CBDs

FNPF members in Lautoka seeking assistance following job losses and reduced work hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Fiji. Picture: FT FILE

Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar says that it is becoming clear that we must prepare for a very different picture for the remainder of 2020.

She said with COVID-19 taking a devastating toll on the global economy, Fijian businesses were already feeling the impacts.

She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had had an adverse effect on Fijian businesses, with some already being forced to close subsequent to the ongoing economic fallout.

“Physical checks were made by the councils in their respective municipalities to comprehend the nature and number of businesses in the Central Business District (CBD) area that were closed down due to the pandemic. The on-the-ground survey carried out by municipal councils showed that the economic impact of COVID-19 is evident throughout our municipalities,” Mrs Kumar said.

She said a total of 25 businesses in Suva, 14 businesses in Nausori, 16 businesses in Labasa, seven businesses in Lautoka and four businesses in Nadi had closed down because of the impact of COVID-19 to date.

“I must emphasise that this was simply checking the shops, whether the shops were empty, fit-outs were taken off and we found that those shops were closed.

“A more detailed study is being undertaken by municipal councils by looking at the business licences they have issued. The councils’ damage assessment showed that most of the businesses closed are restaurants and liquor shops.

“This is simply because most of those businesses relied on the disposable income of Fijians and, of course, the tourism industry which is in a coma due to the COVID-19 crisis.”

More Stories