3101439
Friends play in the sand at Maracas Beach last month.

Mere hours after the Minister of Health announced that beach would once again be close to the public, the lucky few who made it on this most unexpected last day were counting their blessings.

Guardian Media caught up with Dale Persad just as he was returning to his spot, shark and bake in hand. He said getting to the beach, in the nick of time, made him feel “great”.

“Funny enough I haven’t been to the beach since the last lockdown, “ he said.

“Only this morning I tell my wife, let’s go for a little drive to Maracas, eat some bake and shark and take a little dip in the water,” he added,

He chalks it up to luck. But he has mixed feelings about the closure of the beach. He is not certain that the facts warrant such a move.

At yesterday’s Ministry of Health COVID-19 briefing, when the new rules were announced, the Health Minister draw reference to the national coordinator for COVID-19 and the Thoracic Medical Director at Caura Hospital Dr Michelle Trotman who spoke earlier of the need to reduce public congregation.

Most go to the beach with others. Staying in close quarters with them, on the sand, in the water or waiting for food. Those gatherings are what the ministry is trying to discourage.

In recent weeks, the number of new COVID cases have increased significantly.

Radio announcer Taquile Des Vignes was resigned to beaches being closed, but the news about in-house dining in restaurants, bars and cinemas surprised him.

While he accepted that the decision was a necessary one, and he respected that it was being done for the national interest, he had to admit not being happy to face additional limits to recent freedoms in the next three weeks.

“No, we can not, it done hard already!” Des Vignes jokes. “But, if we have to go through this to make it better in the future we will try to hold strain to get through this,” he added.

Manager at Pancho’s a popular bar in Port- of- Spain Kevin Yara echoed those sentiments.

He said, “It going to be really hard to cover costs with everything as it is but we have to try. We have to tighten our belt and put our best foot forward.”

Almost immediately MovieTowne issued a statement saying that their cinemas will be closed for the next three weeks.

When contacted for a response owner Derek Chin said simply, remaining open made “no economic sense.”