Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. Azlan Mohammed/AZP News
RESTAURANTS, cinemas and the Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) are begging the Prime Minister to please allow them to reopen their businesses as their employees and families can no longer survive.
They have formally written the prime minister and the minister of health requesting that they be allowed to open next Monday as a phased process but they are very worried that their request will fall on deaf ears.
The prime minister had indicated before that his Government was concerned with the congregation of people socialising in bars, so he was hesitant in giving the go ahead to allow bars and restaurants to fully reopen.
So BOATT is promising that congregation and socialisation will not be allowed in their bars or on the streets or on the pavement.
They will allow only grab and go and are hoping that the prime minister will give his approval.
Cinemas have gone ahead and made sure that their staff are fully vaccinated, have initiated strict protocols for social distancing and cinema owners have stated they have lost millions with the second lockdown now and this is a major blow to the cinema industry.
They only have criticism on the lockdown being forced on them for such a long period and even implying that it’s ill-conceived that cinemas cause the spread of the virus.
If all businesses and their patrons are responsible and observe Covid-19 protocols why can’t they be open?
In the United States where numbers of infections are much higher, businesses are allowed to be open as they observe Covid-19 protocols.
Many of these businesses have to start from scratch again after their sector was shut down for months and now with an extended lockdown, it will affect how they can continue to employ staff and make a living.
Cinema owners, restaurants and BOATT are reporting high levels of depression among their employees and they expect to see suicide levels rising as people cannot cope much more with their families suffering from not being able to afford the bare necessities.
The prime minister is straggling their businesses and their employees. They do not believe that their industries are the source of Covid-19 outbreaks and that the Government has not provided any empirical data to prove this.
Without their livelihoods, their lives are at stake now so we are begging the prime minister please listen to their cries and get businesses open again and the only way to face this virus is with getting vaccines in citizens arms.
It’s the job of this administration to educate the population properly and get us back on track to some sense of normalcy.
(Neil Gosine is an insurance executive, the North East Regional Coordinator of the United National Congress and a former chairman of NP. The comments and opinions expressed by him in this column are not necessarily those of AZPNews.com, a division of Complete Image Limited.)