A quiet Store Bay on Sunday 11 October 2020. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)
SHASTRI BOODAN

Tour boat operators working out of Bucco Reef in Tobago are eager to get back to work, following an easing of COVID-19 restrictions by Government.

Speaking with Guardian Media, president of the Store Bay Reef Operators Association, Dexter Black, described the move by the government to allow tours as a positive one.

“Our Association is still awaiting further guidelines as how we should be proceeding, in order to comply with the law,” he told Guardian Media.

President of the Store Bay Reef Operators Association, Dexter Black, cleans up the ticket booth at Store Bay on Sunday. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Black was, at the time, cleaning up the ticket booth at Store Bay on Sunday when he spoke with Guardian Media.

“This area has 12 glass bottom boat operators and 10 other boat operators who conduct island and sport fishing tours,” he explained. “Our members were struck hard financially by the restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 virus. A few of them were able to access the salary relief grant, but many others were struggling daily to provide for their families.”

Black said he was hoping that tourists would take advantage of the ease in restrictions.

“People who need a break would be coming, and we will be promoting our tours via social media,” he said. 

PRO Michael Frank and President of the Store Bay Reef Operators Association Dexter Black get ready to open up tours to Bucco Reef. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

PRO of the Association, Michael Frank, said based on the volume of flights to Tobago, there would be fewer people on the island, unless government makes more seats available. 

“All tour operators are ready to receive visitors,” he said. “Patrons should purchase their tour tickets from the authorized booth at Store Bay.”

Frank said the last two months had been very hard, with some association members resorting to agriculture and farming.