Dr. Roshan Parasram

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roshan Parasram

SOME downtown Port of Spain food outlets are expressing concern over yesterday’s revelation of what could be T&T’s first community-spread case of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This after the Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram confirmed that one of the primary contacts of a person who tested positive had recently visited the Long Circular Mall and Charlotte Street branches of Pennywise and First Citizens Bank in San Juan, recently.

Commenting on the development, a supervisor of Mario’s Pizza on Independence Square in Port of Spain, who wished not to be named, said the news is alarming and she said more information should be shared with the public about this positive case.

She said: “We need more information as to if the person would have visited any food places or other businesses in Port of Spain, because this virus is very serious. We are ensuring that everyone continues to wear their mask and adhere to the social distancing at Mario’s Pizza.”

Over at D’Avenue Sport Bar and Lounge co-owner Johnny Thompson said this case of the first possible community spread should make some citizens more responsible and wear their masks at all times along with sanitizing frequently.

“People need to take Covid seriously as it is still very active and this country is not in the clear. Everyone needs to do their part in order to keep the numbers at bay. I ensure that all the Covid protocols are carried out at all times and when the establishment reaches 25 persons, the security closes the door. You cannot be caught off guard at any time.”

And, one of Church’s Chicken floor manager’s who also did not want to be named said more contact tracing needs to be done as it is not known if the primary contact of the woman who tested positive could have visited any of the food outlets in town and environs.

“We are ensuring that all customers who enter the doors are wearing their masks and sanitise before coming to the counters. The management also ensures that the staff are following all the relevant protocols at all times,” the floor manager said.

Business groups on the issue

The Health Ministry and the Chief Medical Officer came in for high praise from the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association president, Gregory Aboud, who commended them for the quick contact tracing that was put in place to help control the spread.

Aboud said while he did not receive concerning calls about the Pennywise closure from downtown businesses, he is urging all owners to be on the alert and to ensure that the protocols are at no time relaxed.

And, Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce Reyaz Ahamad said while their business membership have not raised immediate concerns over the issue, one has to be on guard 24/7 and keep following all the guidelines.

Ahamad noted that Pennywise and FCB are strong reputable companies that would have all the necessary protocols in place to ensure their customers and staff are safe. He also praised the health authorities for taking quick action as the spread could have been much wider as has been seen in other countries.

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