Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya says in a progressive effort to safely resume more economic activity, the Ministry and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, have released protocols to allow for the reopening of the retail sector.
Koya also reveals that as part of the next phase, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport is now considering protocols to safely re-open restaurants, food courts and gyms in Viti Levu.
He stresses that no business, however large or small, will be permitted to operate if they are not following the protocols set by the Fijian Government.
Koya says authorities will not hesitate to shut down and take businesses to task, should they fail to comply with the protocols.
Currently, only essential business and those with special approval can operate in the Lami-Suva-Nausori containment zone. For the rest of Viti Levu, with the exception of ‘high-risk’, all other businesses can operate.
All businesses in the North and the maritime islands, can operate following all COVID safe protocols.
He says Fijians are reminded that restaurants in Viti Levu remain open for takeaway only with no in-dining services.
Meanwhile Koya says Fiji’s retail sector has been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic. This has especially been the case for non-essential retail in the Lami-Suva-Nausori containment zone, which have been closed for over two months.
He says without COVID-safe pathways to open, many non-essential retail outlets risk shutting down permanently, costing Fijian families’ years of hard-earned progress and jobs that many count on.
Koya says these protocols pave the way for retail businesses to operate safely in line with the COVID-safe mitigation strategy, so they can employ Fijians and stimulate vital economic activity.
The Minister says these businesses and the Fijians they employ have not been forgotten or overlooked.
He says instead, these important economic contributors will sit at the heart of a strong recovery.
Koya says the protocols establish the requirements for safely operating businesses in ways that mitigate the risk of the transmission of COVID-19.
Retail businesses must apply for a ‘Permit to Operate’ using the online COVIDpass portal www.covidpass.mcttt.gov.fj and must submit documents, including signed protocols and COVID Safe plans or Standard Operating Procedures by 15th July 2021.
Koya says while retail businesses outside the Nausori-Suva-Lami containment zone do not need to apply, they must adhere to the protocols.
He says despite being closed, they have seen businesses pivot and adapt to the new norm, whether it’s increasing its digital presence, or offering completely new products.
The Minister also says Fijians must remember that all economic considerations are taken, together with health and safety.
He says they are doing their part, by creating a safe environment for businesses to operate again, and they urge all Fijians to do theirs.
Koya says one way every Fijian and every Fijian business can do this, is by getting vaccinated.
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