CoP: TTPS may have to close banks, supermarkets, and markets

Story by RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT

Flashback… RBC and Republic customers line up outside the Independence Square, Port-of-Spain branches on Tuesday. (Image: KERWIN PIERRE)

Commissioner of Police (CoP), Gary Griffith, says the T&T Police Service may have to force closure on banks, supermarkets, and markets, if they do not comply with social distancing outside premises.

In a release, Griffith, says the action would become necessary if citizens do not adhere to the strict guidelines of not congregating in numbers greater than five and engaging in social/physical distancing.

The top cop advises businesses that they should be more concerned about the hundreds of persons who are cramped outside banks, supermarkets and markets. This issue, he added, should be a major concern to critics as the spread of the virus is more likely to come from these places.

“If these persons do not adhere to their responsibilities as laid out by the Chair of the National Security Council (NSC), I may be forced to close those banks, supermarkets and markets, ” Griffith said. “The Minister of National Security has spoken to all banks and other institutions about social distancing, ” he added.

Commissioner Griffith said he has asked the Minister of National Security, who has agreed, that these institutions place markers outside their premises where customers would have to stand six feet apart.

“These markers, in the first instance, could be in the form of a tape or chalk,” he points out. “Customers should take note of this.”

The CoP is advising people “to get in their section”, observe the markers, and only move forward when the person in front of you moves. He says that failure of these institutions to comply could lead to the TTPS closing them.

Flashback…  Customers shop at Massy Stores in La Romaine on Tuesday.  (Image: RISHI RAGOONATH)

Griffith notes that there are many senior citizens lining up outside these places at the end of the month, and he is asking the younger persons to allow the elderly to move past them and conduct their business quickly.

The CoP wants citizens to adhere to the guidelines of social distancing immediately.

“Failure to comply would be our biggest failure and this could lead to the virus being spread,” he said.

Commissioner Griffith notes that while the banks and supermarkets allow a certain number of persons inside their premises, they must recall there are hundreds of persons on the outside who are tightly bunched up and not practising social/physical distancing.

He is reminding the country that it takes just one person with the virus outside these premises to infect others.