Bar owners on the fence about reduced hours

Patrons, some wearning masks, enjoy a drink at Anchors bar at Mt Irvine, Tobago on June 22. Government on Saturday warned bars they will be closed if patrons do not practise social distancing as set out in the covid19 guidelines. - DAVID REID
Patrons, some wearning masks, enjoy a drink at Anchors bar at Mt Irvine, Tobago on June 22. Government on Saturday warned bars they will be closed if patrons do not practise social distancing as set out in the covid19 guidelines. - DAVID REID

Interim president of the Bar Owners/Operators Association of TT (BOATT) Teron Mohan says he is on the fence about the Government’s decision to reduce the opening hours of bars.

On Monday National Security Minister Stuart Young announced the government will reduce the opening hours from 8 am-10 pm to 8 am-8 pm.

Young encouraged bar owners/operators to adopt a “last call” system, to discourage patrons from congregating there.

This came after it was found that some bar owners were not following the regulations.

On Saturday the Prime Minister warned he would close bars again if they did not adhere to the covid19 regulations.

Mohan said in a phone interview on June 29, “Having that limitation now...you are talking about an industry where it thrives in the afternoon to evening hours. That is where income is based. So I am a bit on the fence about it.”

He added that he was also disheartened because a “couple of errant bar owners brought this on us…”

The association, however, does not intend to simply wait and see what will happen next. It is “strategising and planning” about what to do next.

It is also focusing on the education drive outlined by the TT Beverage Alcohol Alliance (TTBAA) and other stakeholders at a press conference on June 28.

Mohan said training was being made available to the owners and operators.

While, he added, he believes some of the regulations for bars have been taken “a little too far” and is “a little too stringent”, he understands that there are basic training needs that bar owners and operators need.

He added it was also “ becoming very frustrating and very burdening.”

Two errant bars were highlighted on social media over the weekend, one in Chaguanas and the other in Barataria. Mohan had a brief conversation with one of the operators about the issue.

He added the association was not in support of anyone being reckless.

“We condemn all acts of non-compliance. We condemn the worthlessness. And it is not just yourself you need to focus on. It is not just yourself you are affecting. It is the entire industry that is being targeted when the mistake of one goes public or when the mistake of one becomes public knowledge.”

Mohan asked bar owners and managers to be mindful of what is done at their establishments.

“What you do has consequences for others.”

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"Bar owners on the fence about reduced hours"

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