AFTER three months of state-sanctioned closure, bars and cinemas are ready to be reopened on Monday even though there will be limitations on the number of customers they are allowed to serve.
Speaking with Sunday Newsday, Teron Mohan, interim president of the recently formed Bar Owners/Operators Association of TT said since the closure of bars on March 16, five bars will be permanently closed while others are struggling to reopen as they had to pay rent without any form of income during the lockdown.
Bars and cinemas were among the first set of businesses that were ordered shut as the government imposed a series of restriction to prevent the spread of covid19. Thousands of workers were sent home and some were able to benefit from salary relief grants in the sum of $1,500 per month for the period.
A significant number of Venezuelan nationals who were laid off did not benefit from the salary relief grants.
MovieTowne’s CEO Stefan Chin said his company will not reopen on Monday as his staff will first need to be educated on all the necessary protocols for the new normal to better assist customers.
He added that the movie industry will not only be hit with fewer customers but also reduced content as new movies have not been released and will not be for some time. He added that to fill the gap he is considering showing local content to fill the gap.
Mohan said his organisation requested and was awaiting feedback from the Finance Ministry on a waiver on gaming taxes. He said they have also requested a waiver on liquor license fees but that may not be forthcoming as some of the bars have already been asked to make representations to get their licenses renewed. He added that with the additional expenses to install sinks and other sanitary products, some bars are finding it difficult to comply.
Sherry Persad, president of TT Members Clubs Association (TTMCA), said the association is extremely grateful for permission to reopen as single mothers will be some of the first batch of employees who will return to work. She added that most of the casinos have already complied with the regulations and installed the necessary isolation screens to separate players at roulette and other gambling machines.
With regards to beaches, life guard education officer Wayne Drysdale said they were ready to welcome people back at the 10 beaches they patrol. He said there is a request for bag valve masks instead of using the mouth pieces to resuscitate anyone in need as an additional pre-caution during covid19.
He added that this is part of the International Lifesaving Federation guidelines. He advised those coming to the beaches that they should listen to the lifeguards, stay within safety zones and for non or weak swimmers not to go beyond waist high water. The Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) said they have already placed hand washing facilities at both Williams Bay and Macqueripe beaches.
The authority will also be monitoring the number of people that will be allowed to enter Macqueripe, although there was no stipulations on the number of people that will be allowed on the beaches. The Prime Minister, who on Saturday addressed the public on the reopening of phase four, did not give a closing time for beaches or rivers.
Kwesi Robinson, chairman of the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation, which has control of Caura River, said early Monday morning the concrete barriers at the entrance to the two main pools will be removed. He advised visitors to walk with their own water for washing their hands and has requested increased patrols by both the municipal and regular police officers.