The Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) wants Government to lift restrictions on bars and restaurants, following the latest advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on lockdowns.

In a recent interview, Special Envoy of the WHO Director-General on COVID-19, Dr David Nabarro, said lockdowns should not be used as the primary method of control.

“The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources; protect your health workers who are exhausted,” Dr Nabarro said in an interview with The Spectator.  “But by and large, we’d rather not do it.”

Dr Nabarro adds: “We really do appeal to all world leaders, stop using lockdown as your primary method of control…  Lockdowns have just one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.”

In light of this latest guidance from the WHO, the Barkeepers and Operators Association wants government to reconsider local COVID-19 restrictions.

“The Association will like to categorically state that bars and restaurants ARE ON LOCKDOWN as the present health ordinance has taken away the fundamental basis on which our businesses operate and are based on,” BOATT says in its release.

BOATT observes that both Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh and CMO Dr Roshan Parasram are on record as stating their actions are in accordance with WHO recommendations and guidelines, and that the “parallel health care system is fully equipped and has ample capacity to deal with the COVID-19 situation in Trinidad and Tobago”.

“Because of this, together with the mandatory mask legislation,” BOATT argues, “there is absolutely no reason in which the government can justify continued restrictions to the business community of Trinidad and Tobago.”

BOATT adds: “The Association stands firm in its position that proper adherence and enforcement of the Ministry of Health guidelines are necessary at this time in all business and public settings, and would like to urge all bar owners to do so. The Association also stands firm in its position that all businesses that do not adhere to the proper health guidelines should feel the full brunt of the law.”