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Empty tents at the Eddie Hart food village in Tacarigua, yesterday.

If vendors don’t adhere to the corporation’s COVID-19 guidelines, the food village at the Eddie Hart Savannah, in Tacarigua, will be shut down, according to Chairman of the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation Kwasi Robinson.

While the food village is known to be a spot where people typically eat and lime in large numbers, a drive-through system was implemented last weekend.

“We are just trying to keep the food village open as long as possible. We are trying to prevent people from congregating there. If that doesn’t work, it will be closed,” he said.

Consumers are supposed to pull up to the car park, purchase food and then leave, Chairman Robinson said.

However, he says he has reports of people, including vendors and consumers, not following the procedures.

When Guardian Media visited, on Monday morning, there were no drive-through transactions taking place; only traditional, person-to-person transactions.

According to Robelto Guiseppi, owner of Robbie’s Doubles, vendors are trying to make the system work, but it appears as though consumers are not taking to it.

“Right now, it’s a little hard for them to adjust with the drive-through thing because we, as Trinidadians, like the stand-up-and-eat thing. This drive-through thing, that’s an American thing. I can’t see it working for us in the long run,” Guiseppi said.

He expressed concern that the system may, in turn, worsen his already-declining sales.

“People don’t carry away doubles. People like to eat it on the spot. Some of them, if they can’t eat doubles on the spot, they are gone. So more pressure on the doubles man,” he added.

Robert Sammy-Lal, who bought doubles in-person, shortly before talking to us, believed the delivery system was a good idea.

However, he admitted that he preferred to eat food at the car park, rather than take it and carry it home.

It would be difficult for consumers to adapt, given our country’s culinary culture, he added.

“Trinidadians are so used to sitting and eating here, like myself, I sit and eat. But, if that’s the only system, I will have to use it. We are following the Americans,” Sammy-Lal added.

However, there was a bigger concern for the vendors—the drastic decline in sales that they are all facing, in light of the pandemic.

With a forlorn expression on his face, a coconut vendor, who did not want to give his name, lamented the decline in revenues that he’s faced.

“It really bad. The slowdown real terrible. Everybody bawling. This virus has come to lick us up here, boy,” he said.

“Bills will have to wait for now,” he added.