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Rishard Khan
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Following recent comments by Attorney General Faris Al Rawi, the Barkeepers’ and Owners’ Association of T&T (BOATT) is clarifying that it is not suggesting banning the sale of alcohol, but instead, prohibiting its consumption in public spaces.

“BOATT’s recommendation was to place a 60-day ban on the consumption of alcohol and its related products in public and not a ban on the sale of alcohol. All legally licenced establishments can still continue to purchase and sell all alcoholic products,” BOATT’s president Satesh Moonasar told Guardian Media.

“In a recent media report, the Honourable Attorney General stated he is concerned that manufacturers of local alcoholic products will see a loss in revenue and job loss if this proposal came into being… It must be stated that at present and has been happening since March 2020, loss of revenue, job loss and bankruptcy are occurring in restaurants, casinos, cinemas and bars with no concern or assistance from large manufactures and government.”

Moonasar said the association does not believe their suggestion would have the effect outlined by the Attorney General.

“Consumers are still allowed to purchase their favourite beverages at their businesses of choice, be it a manufacturer, supermarket, wholesaler, restaurant or a bar, and consume at their leisure in the comfort and safety of a private space or residence,” he said.

He said their proposal is not indefinite and, much like the restrictions currently in place, it is for a limited time to stop the spread of COVID-19 during this period of resurgence.

“Restrictions were placed on all alcohol licenced establishments in order to curb the spread of COVID but the activities of these establishments have since migrated from within the premises, which are regulated and licenced, to areas that are uncontrolled and public, where the risk of exposure to COVID is by far greater than the establishments which are restricted,” he said.

He added: “We must act in a proactive manner and make difficult decisions to gain desired results in the fight against COVID, and this recommendation must be taken into consideration and analysed in detail as it is one guaranteed way to control congregation.”