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Barkeepers & Operators Association president Teron Mohan, centre, with vice-president Satesh Moonasar, left, and PRO Anil Maraj Powell.

The Barkeepers & Operators Association of T&T is calling on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to lead the 20,000 employees and 5,000 owners in the bar industry out of what they describe as the local crisis that they have been plunged into due to COVID-19.

In a press release yesterday, the Association said it was deeply concerned that the continued extensions of restrictions with no clear indication as to when they would be able to return to some form of normalcy, will only further exacerbate their financial strain.

The association observed that the industry has not been able to sustain operations, and the end result is that the day-to-day lives of employees and owners have been adversely affected, as more businesses continue to shut their doors.

It said the situation is now so bad that the mental state and health of employees and owners continue to deteriorate with disorders of severe anxiety and chronic depression, as they see the light at the end of the tunnel slowly disappearing.

The association said while the sector continues to be ridiculed and decimated, citizens are allowed to congregate at the beaches, roadways and pavements in droves, consume alcohol at free will with no health protocols being observed, whilst the bars which are licensed to consume alcohol and have implemented all the necessary health protocols remain deserted.

It said it is now apparent that the training, the implementation of COVID safety protocols and recommendations for living in the “New Normal” given by the association seems to be irrelevant.

The association warned that if they have to continue along this path, they would be forced down a slippery slope, steering towards an abyss of economic nothingness.

It noted that while in a global crisis, it is easy to panic, the leadership must be laser-focussed, ensure good communication and must be guided by sound effective and efficient decision-making processes.