Tobago restaurateur: Workers can’t afford regular PCR testing

Jeffrey Azar, owner of Roosters fast food restaurant. - Photo by David Reid
Jeffrey Azar, owner of Roosters fast food restaurant. - Photo by David Reid

TOBAGO businessman Jeffrey Azar does not support a move by some restaurants requiring unvaccinated staff members to take PCR covid19 tests at their own expense. He said people cannot afford it.

On Thursday, staff members working for the Trotters Restaurant Group were told once dining reopens, unvaccinated workers will have to double-mask and wear a face shield at work. They will also have to take a PCR test every two weeks.

A memo signed by owner Peter George said, “While we respect everyone’s right to freedom of choice when it comes to their health and their body, we have taken the (following) decision.”

Azar owns Roosters fast food restaurant, which has two branches at Shirvan Plaza and ANR Robinson International Airport, Crown Point.

On July 20, he told Newsday that of his 68 workers, “90 per cent” of them did not want to be vaccinated against covid19.

But he said he has no plans to make vaccination mandatory for them.

He also said many of the excuses given by employees were "silly."

“Three of the staff are saying it’s spiritual, because their pastor told them not to take it, and another one said they ‘putting a microchip inside of their body.’ Nonsense. Nonsense.”

But, asked about the decision by Trotters, he said “That doesn’t make sense, because they can’t afford it.

“It’s about $1,100 for a PCR test, and that doesn’t make any sense. I am not in favour of that, because employees cannot afford $2,200 a month.”

He said if it were free, he would have supported it.

Ryan Chin, director at Dachin Group of Companies, which includes Texas de Brazil, Rizzoni's Ristorante Italiano, and Jaxx International Grill, told Newsday he has been considering a policy similar to that of Trotters but it has not yet been decided.

“I know there’s also the rapid antigen (tests) that are more cost-effective.

“It is something we are kind of reviewing. We’re discussing policies and measures in the best interest of everybody. It is something that needs to be looked at.”

In a press release on Thursday, Starlite Pharmacy said it was "strongly encouraging" its employees to be fully vaccinated by August 31.

It said, "After careful consideration and discussion, it is our view that Starlite Pharmacy Ltd has a responsibility to protect all our team members and valued customers."


"Tobago restaurateur: Workers can’t afford regular PCR testing"

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