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A 212 Location/Blaanix employee opens the security gate to the store as the retail sector reopened in Port-of-Spain yesterday.

Downtown Owners & Merchants Association president Gregory Aboud says 85 per cent of businesses in Port-of-Spain reopened yesterday after over three months of closure.

“There has been a slow but steady and encouraging start to the day’s business. People are coming back onto the street and we are seeing the reopening of commercial activity, including deliveries coming back to Port-of-Spain and shoppers coming to visit various businesses,” he said.

Aboud said the other 15 per cent of businesses remained closed as pending negotiations between landlords and tenants take place. However, he said that may be resolved soon and more stores may reopen this week.

He said the members of his association are of the view that regardless of the circumstances, life will go on.

From as early as seven yesterday morning, retail store workers were seen cleaning and preparing their workplaces for reopening.

UA Investments employee Indar Kanhai said it was a day he and his colleagues were waiting for.

“It’s been a long time all the employees here have been at home…we are all elated you know, week after week we will sit and wait at the press conference to hear what’s the news on the retail sector and finally, he (Pm Rowley) announced the news,” Kanhai said.

He said they are following all health protocols inside the store and employees had all been vaccinated because they cannot deal with another shutdown.

Lower down Frederick Street at Wonderful World, an employee said she was happy to return because her cash was running out.

“I was praying for this because my rainy day money was running way low,” she said.

Even customers were happy for employees of the retail sector, noting they had suffered long enough.

Annmarie Douglas, who was waiting for Detour to open, said the reopening came just in time for retail workers to purchase books.

“If they did keep close for the length of time, that would have been real hard so I glad they open so people can come out and get they lil money,” she said.

She was also happy to be able to purchase a new jersey for work.

“People on the outside too who want a lil pants, a lil slipper or whatever, they could get to buy something now,” she said.

Douglas was not the only relieved customer. Obadiah Bates said he had been waiting months to purchase clothing.

“I buy some caps here and earlier on I buy some jerseys and I feeling real comfortable with that. A lil while from now I going across by Henry Street to buy a shoes,” he told Guardian Media.

There was also a line at Standards on Henry Street.

“I couldn’t wait,” one woman who had several bags in her hands said.