WITH BARS identified as spaces of recent Covid-19 “superspread”, owners and patrons were not taking any chances yesterday.
In mid-March bars were ordered closed to help stop the spread of Covid-19 and as infections fell, bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen on June 22 with a closing time of 10 p.m.
Within days, social media videos showed scores of people gathering in and outside bars in Central, South and North Trinidad, with limers not wearing masks and enjoying themselves with no physical distancing.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday criticised bad behaviour at some bars, saying “we are doubling up our monitoring on a daily basis and I have spoken to the Minister of National Security to speak to the Commissioner of Police...to enforce the law”.
Bars along the East-West Corridor yesterday seemed to be listening to the Prime Minister as patrons at several establishments were observed sticking to physical distancing and had their masks next to them as they sipped on beverages.
Patron Arnold Dwarika, who sat in a bar at the corner of King and Abercromby streets in St Joseph, said, “I am distancing myself from people because I have a family to go home to.”
Next to him was a plastic sink and soap.
“Is wash hands before you buy anything in here,” he added.
At the bar counter there was a sheet of clear plastic separating patrons from employees.
There were at least four signs advising patrons about social distancing, washing hands and “no mask, no service”.
An employee told the Express: “We have had no difficulty enforcing the rules here because it is a mature crowd here and they are old men and they want to live so they are complying.”
Operator Annmarie De Four of Vital Corner, also in St Joseph, said: “We have no trouble enforcing the rules and if one or two do come in without masks I send them outside.”
As she spoke to the Express, one man without a mask walked in and rested $20 on the counter and asked for a Stag.
De Four gave him a look as he explained that his mask was “right dey” in his car and he needed to go get it.
Asked about patrons who were most guilty of this, she said: “Mostly young people.”
She added: “As a bar owner we have to enforce the law and nip this thing in the bud so people know when they come in here they have to follow the rules.
“We suffered tremendously during the lockdown so we really don’t want to go back to that.”
At another Curepe bar and one in San Juan, the story was almost the same.
“Government have to do what they need to do,” said an employee.
She said things had changed since the lockdown and she didn’t want another as people were drinking less and spending less time at her establishment.
“If you come here at 9 p.m. the place dead and other bar owners have told me the same thing,” she said.