Businesses gear up for first day of real Main Street shopping despite many vowing to stay home.
The ease of restrictions will allow businesses to open as from May 2 as long as they follow social distancing rules.
Minister for Business, Transport and Tourism, Vijay Daryanani, understood the worry from small companies regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, being a former small business owner himself.
“I know that most of you are chomping at the bit to kick start our economy to start working again, but we need to be cautious,” said Daryanani.
“The lockdown measures are to protect you and your business so that when we come out of this we will have a long term future to think about.”
Minister for Transport, Daryanani shared Minister for Environment John Cortes’s hopes that people would use less vehicles and would walk more to help improve air quality after lockdown.
He noted that ‘tourism has been hit badly’ and was in discussions with hoteliers, airlines and businesses in the tourism sector.
With the frontier effectively shut by the Spanish state of emergency, the port largely inactive, flights are the main way in and out of Gibraltar.
These are operated at the moment by British Airways four times as week, although the company laid off 12,000 employees earlier this week.
Daryanani told the public that he spoke with easyJet yesterday and proposed that they should start with flights from Gibraltar to Manchester and Gatwick once the airline gets up and running.
“These links are crucial for our finance centre, for tourism and our children who go to university,” he said.
“A link with the north of England is important so our children can travel with ease to this region.”
“Your government has been working to open up new routes. But at the moment, we will try to consolidate what we have.”
Earlier this week, Minister for Economic Development Joe Bossano spoke on how difficult it will be for cruise liners, a large portion of daily shoppers, to continue calling at the Rock in the near future.
“As far as cruising is concerned, the situation is equally dire,” said Minister Daryanani.
“I’m continuing to engage with all our contacts in this sector to inform them that Gibraltar will be open for business the moment the cruising industry condenses.”
The elderly will not be able to take advantage of the ease of restrictions on businesses after yesterday’s announcement by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
They will however be granted the option to exercise wherever they like without being restricted to the four allocated areas.
The Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia warned against the elderly using this as an excuse to socialise with family and friends.
“Maintain social distancing because COVID-19 is still out there waiting to pounce and it will hit the most vulnerable hardest,” he added.
The golden hour scheme, which has been in affect as from Wednesday, saw 219 older residents exercising on that day at the four locations around the rock.
Some 245 elderly people visited Camp Bay, Eastern Beach, Commonwealth Park and Victoria Stadium respectively on Thursday.
Camp Bay was the most popular destination with the least visited being Victoria Stadium on both days.
“Those four areas are cleaned and disinfected, access is controlled, marshals are in attendance and hand sanitizers are provided with St John’s ambulance in attendance,” said Garcia.
A total of 8.4% of the population in Gibraltar has been tested for COVID-19, amounting to 2,700 people.
Some 29 people attended A&E yesterday, with nine people showing COVID symptoms and only four being swabbed to be tested.