Hew: “Critical Look” at the Financial Support Needed for Small Businesses

Deputy Opposition Leader Joey Hew said the government will need to take a close look at financial support for local businesses struggling to survive following the continued closure of the Cayman border.

“Our restaurants are suffering… they are closing one by one. It has been a very, very difficult time for them, ”Hew said of Caiman crosstalk Thursday (Sept. 23) morning.

His comment comes as popular hotspots like Rum Point are closing their doors indefinitely. The popular restaurant announced plans to close on October 3, while The Wharf restaurant announced that it would only be open for special events. Several more have closed since March 2020, when Cayman first introduced COVID-19 prevention measures.

Hew, who appeared on the radio show with Opposition Leader Roy McTaggart, lamented whether the government was going to continue to keep the borders closed, “We’re going to have to look at real stimulus support, financial support for the people. medium and small businesses and, in particular, those which depended heavily on the tourism industry such as restaurants, hotels and Air BnBs ”.

The George Town North MP said Cayman is now starting to see the real impact of the pandemic on small businesses.

“The immediate impact was on those who were directly involved in tourism. What has happened now is that the spillover effect has taken place where those who were on the fringes of supporting tourism, those who supported businesses that were in tourism… they are now starting to feel. the tightening and all the support they received over the last year is drying up, ”he said.

Watch the interview here:

The government, he said, must introduce initiatives to help them stay afloat.

“Without a real plan to reopen and without a fixed date to which we will stick, the government will have to take a close look at how it is going to financially support these companies,” he said.

Hew, who was the former trade minister under the progressive-led government, said initiatives such as low-interest mortgages, late payments had been put in place to help ease the burden .

Now, he said, that support is “drying up”.

“Part of the hope that they [small businesses] clung to and maybe even the support they were receiving from their credit institutions etc. especially our restaurants, ”he said.

Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chris Saunders, speaking at the government’s COVID-19 briefing later Thursday, shared that from a cash flow perspective, “we (the government) are in a very good position for weather the storm “and incentives to support business are being developed. to.

He said in the last finance committee $ 4 million was approved to support businesses and Commerce Minister Andre Ebanks was working on criteria to help restaurants, similar to the help provided to operators of water sports.

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