Health inspectors will continue to monitor all food establishments, according to Public Health Inspector III Germaine Taylor.
On Monday, TT commenced the first phase of its reopening by allowing food establishments to open.
Addressing a virtual media conference on Monday, Taylor said health inspectors will monitor restaurants and street vendors to ensure health protocols are adhered to.
“We continue to monitor. Even when the restaurants were closed, we monitored the groceries and the vegetable stalls, so this is just an addition and we would continue to monitor,” she said.
Taylor also issued guidelines to vendors on protecting themselves and customers from covid19.
“Any vendor who suspects that he or she has covid19 or has flu-like symptoms, this person, you are asked to not turn up at work and follow the national covid19 guidelines.
“Vendors, owners, operators must have a food badge. We know we have ceased (issuing) food badges for a short time, so we have asked that you use your previous year’s food badge. People have begun calling us asking when we are going to begin issuing food badges but we would like the public to know that the government still has a no-gathering (policy) of over five persons in places and non-essential workers are still at home. So until that is lifted, we cannot begin issuing such.”
Additionally, she said food operators are to ensure that their stalls, counters, food surfaces are sanitised daily, before and after handling food.
“They are also required to store or display their food items in a proper manner so it would not come into direct contact with the ground and it must be secured from pests.
“They are to ensure that there is an adequate supply of potable running water. Vendors must be suitably attired, wearing your face masks wherever possible and when you’re handling monies. If there is not a separate person collecting cash, we are asking that you wear a pair of gloves when you are doing so.”
Taylor insisted that separate hand washing facilities be provided for both the customer and the operator.
“I’ve observed that some people have a Blue Waters bottle, that is not adequate. We are asking that you have a container with a draw tap, and it must run into a sink. The hand washing sink for the vendor must be separate from what you’re using to wash your dishes and your vegetables.”
She said there must be suitable signage to let the customer know they must wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before entering the business place.
“I have also observed that even though some places have provided hand washing facilities, customers do not use it so we ask that you have, even if it is the security guard, to ensure that hand washing takes place.
“If customers have to physically handle the produce, as in the case of the vegetable stalls, we’re asking that that be limited and if the customer must do it, that customer must wear a pair of gloves. Furthermore, we are asking that the customers wear a mask if possible; hand sanitisers and disposable gloves, where necessary. From the customer's point of view, you are asked to wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean running water and sanitise it before using.”