The Barkeepers & Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) is urging other stakeholders in the hospitality industry to follow their lead and maintain open lines of communication with the authorities, as the industry continues to work on recovering from the economic impact of COVID-19.

In a release issued today, BOATT points at fruitful discussions with the health and finance ministries on a way forward.

“The Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago will like to take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Health The Honourable Terrance Deyalsingh, CMO Dr Roshan Parsaram, Dr Avery Hinds and Minister of Finance The Honourable Colm Imbert, for giving us the opportunity to meet and have constructive and meaningful dialog on the way forward for the bar industry.  We look forward to meeting with you all again in the coming weeks in an attempt to access financial support and determine the way forward and for the safe reopening of our industry,” the BOATT release stated.

BOATT also commended the Trinidad and Tobago Promoters’ Association (TTPA) and several Restauranteurs for their recent statements on restrictions within the Entertainment and Food and Beverage sector.

“The bar industry is the heartbeat of Trinidad and Tobago’s tourism sector and is an integral part of our culture,” BOATT said.  “We have provided the stage throughout our twin island state to new and rising artists to showcase their talent, of which most have developed into international artists.”

The lobby group noted: “While promoters provide a stage for our artists and the ‘vibes’ for our people during carnival time, we the bar owners provide the same opportunity and ‘vibes’ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to our local artists and talent free of charge.”

BOATT also stated that while hit hard by the pandemic, and anxious to rebuild, their industry will not do so at the expense of citizens health and safety.

“Since March 17th, 2020, due to the Coronavirus, bar owners and employees have been left to fend for ourselves.  We have been bearing—and will continue to bear—the burden for the health and safety of all citizens, and the entire population of Trinidad and Tobago,” the release said.

BOATT also is urging “all other stakeholders to engage the relevant authorities in a bid to win the war against COVID-19”, stating that only together will this war be won.