Mukesh Ramsingh, President of the Couva Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce. (Image by SHASTRI BOODAN)

The Couva Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce (CPCC) is calling on the Government to reopen sporting activities nationwide, as part of the strategy to beat COVID-19.

It also is recommending that sporting venues be made safe zones, with limited capacity for the fully vaccinated, as well as strict adherence to all COVID-19 protocols at these sites.

“We believe that the return to sports for vaccinated persons only will act as an encouragement for those who are vaccine hesitant and that the said persons will go and get their jabs. Parents and supporters may follow suit as well,” the Chamber says in an official statement signed by its president, Mukesh Ramsingh.

“Beaches were allowed to be open and although it is for a limited time in the day, it is virtually impossible to know or control who is vaxxed and who is not. Bars, restaurants and cinemas are places where patrons are together for long periods in an enclosed area. Most sports are outdoors and so much easier to social distance,” the release points out.

The CPCC is arguing that ensuring the population can access sporting facilities and engage in sporting activities should be part of the Government’s strategy to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At this time, when the population is trying to stay healthy, exercise plays a vital role in their lives and some people rely on sporting activities for their cardio work out,” the statement said.

The Chamber also is arguing for the health of the sporting business sector.

“From an economic point of view, sports equipment sales are almost nil for the last eighteen months leading to loss on income which in turn have caused sports shops to cut staff,” the CPCC says. 

It notes: “With the recent rising cost of food, cost of transportation and the overall cost of living going up constantly, persons depend on the local and regional sports for an extra income and in some cases, it is their full-time job i.e. for players, managers, coaches and grounds keepers.”

The Chamber maintains that the country “must learn to adapt and live with the virus”, stressing that it supports Government’s call for citizens to be vaccinated, and get their booster shots.

“The CPCC continues to support the call alongside the Government for citizens to get vaccinated and also boosted, as it is our first line of defence against the virus. We must take the reality that the virus is not going away any time soon into consideration and the dream of zero COVID in any country is not possible currently,” the business lobby observed.

“Persons must take a personal responsibility to take care of themselves and their family,” it added.