The re-opening of any environment where it is difficult to wear masks for prolonged periods and practise social distancing continues to cause problems globally, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said on Saturday.
He was responding to a question from Newsday at Saturday’s covid19 media briefing as to what measures would be put in place to allow bars and restaurants to reopen as many are having to close their doors.
“I don’t want the narrative to be that we are anti any type of industry, it is not that, we are anti-covid, we are anti the elderly dying, we have 107 deaths, that is what we are anti. From day one, nurseries and preschools where it is impossible for children to wear masks and socially distance, have been closed. You would see we applied those measures to the Arima Race Club, the racing can go on but we can’t have hundreds and or thousands of people in that type of environment.”
In the 4 pm update, the Health Ministry reported another death taking the total fatalities to 108, although active cases had fallen below 1,000 to 974.
He said the decisions on which industries can reopen are based on the public health measures, adding it was important to protect healthcare workers as well.
“We have to make sure healthcare workers are getting a breather, and they are getting a good breather right now over the past couple of weeks. There’s a hospital in a particular country that is refusing their regular patients because it has been converted to a covid19 hospital, so if you are pregnant or have a heart attack, you cannot get care in that particular city. That is what we have avoided so far. But as our numbers dictate, we will advise the decision-makers, which is ultimately the Prime Minister who makes the ultimate decisions on what level of risk we can take going forward in any industry, whether it’s pre-schools, nurseries or other places.”
Bars and restaurants remained on restricted opening hours and without in-house drinking and dining, following the limited lifting of restrictions by the Prime Minister on October 24. Several restaurants have closed their doors in the past week, including Trotters Restaurant in Gulf City and Sails Restaurant and Pub in Chaguaramas.