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Downtown Straw Market Reopens

Twenty months after the Downtown Straw Market was closed due to the pandemic, the popular tourist attraction reopened this morning.

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Twenty months after the Downtown Straw Market was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving scores of vendors and craftspeople out of work, the popular tourist attraction reopened this morning.

Jasmin Brown reports.



It was a sentiment shared by every straw vendor we spoke to just moments after the market opened for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 23, 2020, then-Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis ordered the closure of all non-essential establishments, including the straw market, following the confirmation of The Bahamas’ first COVID-19 case.

During a tour of the facility, today, Minister of Works Alfred Sears said while work to build a sickbay is still ongoing, it was important to open the market sooner rather than later.

The reopening comes with several new measures, including a three-day shift system for vendors. 180 vendors are allowed in the market at a time. There will also be sanitization and temperature stations, and limited entrance and exit points for the market.

Lisa Rolle, who caught COVID-19 while seven months pregnant last year, says it was rough being out of work for so long.

Texas natives and repeat visitors Don and Jessica Fincher say they were happy to see the market finally reopened.

While it was a day of celebration for the vendors, Straw Vendors Advancement Association President Celestine Eneas also revealed vendors are still trying to get to the bottom of thousands of dollars worth of missing items that were stored in the closed market during the pandemic.

Ministry of works officials confirmed there is an ongoing investigation into the matter.

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