No Mask-Wearing Law from Today in T&T

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

AT last!

From today (July 17, 2022), citizens can breathe a sigh of relief to be able to be in public without having to wear a mask or look over their shoulder to see if a police officer is nearby.

The mask mandate is finally lifted after almost two years since it was first implemented as a public health measure to battle the devastating Covid-19.

Since the beginning of 2020, the wearing of mask was heavily advised by government and health officials to reduce the spread of the virus that was wreaking havoc across the world.

Then, the masks that were available were quickly sold out and persons began being creative and started making cloth masks to sell, bandanas were used a substitute, as well as a, lifted jersey above the nose.

However, with still few people taking the advice, government moved to make it into law and it became one of the many public health regulations when it was announced by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley just before Independence Day on August 31, 2020 – the day the law came into effect.

Since then, businesses, organisations and establishments began putting up “No mask, No entry” signs at their premises.

Mask sales picked up and became part of the daily outdoor wear.

There were some groups, however, counteracting that masks did not assist with the reduced spread of the deadly virus.

But since there was the law, most persons were obliged at least in public settings.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh. Azlan Mohammed/AZPNews

Only children, age eight and under were allowed in public without a mask, although still recommended.

There was also contention as to whether masks should be worn while exercising. This was also recommended but not enforced.

Persons also raised the issue as to why those in private vehicles must wear a mask especially if family members all lived under one roof. That requirement was subsequently lifted.

Fast forward to 2022 and safe zone protocols are no longer in effect.

Fetes and parties are allowed and all masks break loose.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh was constantly grilled at the Ministry of Health’s regular press conferences as to why party goers could have a good time without wearing a mask but it was still a mandate for other public spaces including public transportation.

He has constantly said that it remains in effective as a preventive measure for Covid-19.

In early July, Dr Rowley said he would be considering lifting the mask mandate as long as the current Covid-19 situation sustained.

Dr Roshan Parasram

Then it was official on July 6 when Deyalsingh with authorisation from Dr Rowley announced at a press conference that from July 17, the mandate will be lifted.

However, the wearing of the mask will still be a requirement for all healthcare facilities inclusive of public and private healthcare, general practitioners and dental clinics.

Apart from that, there will be no other health regulations.

And although not law, it is still being recommended.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram on Wednesday went into details as to how to evaluate if one should wear a mask, based on person, setting and other potential risks.

Both he and Deyalsingh are not expecting the entire population to drop their masks at once. 

Places recommended for mask wearing by health officials include:

  • Retail settings inclusive of groceries and malls;
  • Public transportation and transportation hubs:
  • Ports of entry;
  • Mass gathering;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Schools and educational establishments;
  • Workplaces;
  • Places of worship;
  • Beauty salons and barbershops;
  • Spas; and
  • Cinemas and theatres.


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