Beachgoers rushed to Maracas Bay yesterday afternoon for a last dip shortly after it was announced that beaches will be closed for the next three weeks.
When the Express visited the country’s most popular yesterday, dozens of people were seen on the shoreline, with more lined up at the food stalls to collect bake and shark sandwiches.
At the time, the beach was not over-crowded, and people were liming in specific spots with their friends and family, attempting to social distance as best as they could.
In most cases, people were observed wearing face masks.
However, as of 4 p.m., there were more than 100 people on the beach and more were coming in as traffic built up along the North Coast Road leading to the bay.
Police were also setting up for a traffic exercise.
People interviewed by the Express voiced their frustration about the sudden closure of the beaches without any prior warning.
Some expressed frustration about the duration, saying three weeks was too long.
But most agreed it was the right step to take.
“The Prime Minister came out and told us to behave for the long weekend but many didn’t take him on. You could just go on social media and see all the parties people had. The beach house limes and Tobago trips. In most of these videos and pictures you will not see anyone social distancing and a lot of people flouting the laws by not wearing masks and gathering in large numbers. This is literally a ‘Paul pay for all’ situation because we have no one to blame for this but ourselves,” said Jeremy Lala from Las Cuevas.
Another man, who gave his name as “Dominic”, said he understood the rationale but believed the measures were too strict.
“It’s over a year people in this lockdown thing. Their mental health is in the pits. They are fried and need simple things like a beach or sweat on an evening to relax and maintain their sanity.”
I understand the spike is concerning but not for every spike you have you should lock down the country like this. Bars are already closed and people can’t gather publicly. Now you’re taking away the freedom to just relax and de-stress? Come nah, man. You are burning out your population. Work on getting the vaccines inside and the good ones like Pfizer, and don’t place additional stress on the people you represent by taking away what limited freedoms they have,” Dominic said.
Michael Jon told the Express he knew he had to “risk” coming to the beach for a last dip because he had promised his children they could go this weekend.
“Imagine that. We tried to behave and stay away from the crowds over the long weekend because we knew there would be some people who would flout the regulations. And now we are being punished for our diligence? How is that fair? I told my kids we could go to the beach this weekend but if I waited, they wouldn’t be able to go. So I had to end up taking this chance today. I understand why they did it. Realistically, the numbers are too high. We need to bring it back down. But at the same time. It’s the whole nation being punished for the actions of some irresponsible few,” Jon said.