President of the Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago(BOATT), Sateesh Moonasar is concerned that there are bar-owners throughout the country that continue to flout the “safe zone” regulations without care or concern for the authorities.
Moonasar was answering questions posed to him by PSA media concerning the Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley’s statement on Saturday that the government will no longer be seeking an extension to the state of emergency(SoE) and in effect, the 10 pm to 5 am curfew, as well as, the opposition’s notion that another SoE can be started on December 1 without the United National Congress(UNC) support.
Moonasar noted that BOATT is neither “here nor there about whether the curfew or SoE will be extended or not.” He said that at this point bars are only dealing with vaccinated persons and the state of emergency does not affect the safe zone initiative. He said: “In terms of the safe zone initiatives pertaining to bars we are dealing only with vaccinated persons at this point in time, so lockdown for our industry is not an option on the table being that we are only dealing with vaccinated persons and over 96% of the Covid positives at this time are in the unvaccinated.” He agreed with Dr. Rowley that the disease could become endemic once more persons become vaccinated and the hospitalisation figures are reduced.
However, he noted that what is more concerning to his association at this time is an observable trend where most bar-owners have been keeping the protocols put in place by the public health regulations, but a minority of establishments according to him are allowed to be reckless while the police service, “Turns a blind eye although they are clearly visible throughout the various districts.” He said these bars have been continuously breaking the two main regulations as it pertains to the operations of bars at the moment. That is: “In terms of capacity and vaccination.”
Moonasar noted that although the divisional heads in the police service have been notified, BOATT is yet to see any improvements. He marked the situation as unfair and said that it defeated the purpose of the “safe zone” initiative. He reiterated: “Lockdown is not an option for our industry anymore, any lockdown for our industry going forward should be the lockdown of bars that are not adhering to the protocols.”
When the SoE ends on November 30 the ban on alcohol consumption in public will no longer be enforceable.