Vendors want government assistance to cope as sales plummet due to the impact of COVID-19 on their business.
Vendors Association President Peter Isaac told St Lucia Times that the pandemic had a terrible effect on members of the organisation.
He explained that some passengers are not disembarking although cruise ships come calling, and sometimes when the vendors do see people, they are coming from the hotels and not the vessels.
Isaac also disclosed that the visitors are not spending.
“It has not been that bright and this season is going to be very rough for us. There are seasonal vendors who sell for Jounen Kweyol, people selling for Valentine’s Day and none of these things happened since COVID. This is the second year we haven’t had Assou Square and that is going to affect a number of vendors especially people coming out at that time and the Festival of Lights was virtual,” the Vendors Association President noted.
“Vendors are not optimistic that’s why we were asking that we get a package – some assistance, financial assistance from the administration especially vendors in the Craft Market and the Vendors Arcade because as you know these two facilities have been officially closed and we have not really gotten much assistance apart from the lump sum of $500 per month for three months,” he stated.
“A lot of people were depending on the statement they interpreted to be that if the administration coming in now – people interpreted the statement of the Prime Minister as if he is in office he would assist and he would triple the amount and a number of people went for that, but now there is a turnaround in terms of the interpretation,” Isaac told St Lucia Times.
He said vendors had received help from the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association, for which they are grateful.
However, he said the assistance was insufficient to sustain people during the festive season.
And Isaac asserted that with the appearance of Omicron and mixed messages concerning the variant, vendors are not hopeful that they will see a silver lining soon.
Headline photo: FLASHBACK to better days – Tourist examines items for sale in Vendors Arcade, Castries.