THE Prime Minister has said he hopes an aggressive vaccination programme could allow the reopening of more businesses as safe zones – namely restaurants, bars, gyms, casinos and cinemas – but, he emphasised, this would be "for vaccinated persons."
Rowley also said places of worship such as churches will be allowed to open from Monday, but with a limit of 25 per cent capacity of their congregations. Services may last no longer than one hour.
Dr Rowley gave an update on the pandemic at a briefing in Tobago on Friday to mark the end of a three-day Cabinet retreat at the prime minister's residence at Blenheim.
Asking religious bodies to encourage their members to get vaccinated, he quoted the Islamic adage to trust in the Almighty but to also tie one's camel.
The PM hopes to send Form 4-6 pupils back to school on October 4.
He also hopes to see an upsurge in their vaccination uptake and gradually to reopen more sectors of the economy.
He listed the many vaccines now available to the population –Sinopharm, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Pfizer – saying the latter would soon be offered to the general population, as well as older schoolchildren and pregnant women.
Expressing dissatisfaction at the low vaccination rates in Tobago, he said people had the right to get information from wherever they wished, but he had a duty to warn people.
"We are concerned about Tobago. I'm disappointed at the response to the threat to Tobago.
"You are playing with your life."
Rowley hoped Tobagonian pupils will take the vaccine.
He said in TT as a whole, 516,000 had taken a first dose and 408,000 a second dose of vaccine.
"And those numbers keep growing."
Rowley also sounded an alert about the global emergence of a new strain, the mu variant, even as the delta strain has taken hold in Jamaica.