Please, Prime Minister. Let us open our bars.
The Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) has made another appeal to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to fully reopen bars and to lead the 20,000 employees and 5,000 owners in the bar industry out of a local crisis as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions.
In a statement yesterday, BOATT stated that members were deeply concerned that the continued extensions of restrictions will further exacerbate their financial strain.
BOATT stated that the industry has not been able to sustain operations and the day-to-day lives of employees and owners were adversely affected. It stated that businesses continue to shut their doors and that the mental state and health of employees and owners continue to deteriorate with disorders of severe anxiety and chronic depression.
BOATT stated, “While this sector continues to be ridiculed and decimated, citizens are allowed to congregate at the beaches, roadways and pavements in droves, consume alcohol at free will with no health protocols being observed, whilst the bars which are licensed to consume alcohol and has implemented all the necessary health protocols remain deserted.”
The association noted that bar owners have implemented Ministry of Health safety protocols and recommendations for “living in the new normal” but that too seemed to be irrelevant.
“If we continue along this path, we would be forced down a slippery slope, steering towards an abyss of economic nothingness,” it stated.
In March, the prime minister announced that bars would be closed as a precaution against the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Three months later the bars were reopened and patrons allowed to dine-in.
But that was short-lived as the country recorded a spike in Covid-19 positive cases and the prime minister ordered that bars provide only takeaway service.
Many bar owners, however, opted to remain closed.
BOATT stated that several bars have closed down following the revised lockdown measures.