by Radhica De Silva and Camille McEachnie
As the beaches reopened for the first time in two months, several families ventured out, expressing joy over the reopening.
Those on the shore were socially distanced and a few wore masks.
At the Vessigny Beach, lifeguard Collis Ferreira said he was happy to see that people were adhering to the COVID-19 stipulations. He said the barricades and gates made it possible to regulate traffic inflow into the compound.
Only two families were there.
“It’s a good thing to have the beaches open again. I hope the public listening to the Prime Minister and everyone does not rush to the beach. We made security checks at this beach and we ensure that everyone washes their hands before entering. We have four lifeguards working,” he said.
Liaison officer at the Ministry of Tourism Marva Elizabeth Suite said everyone must abide by the rules and regulations set up by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health.
She said by the weekend, the beach will have many more people.
Pensioner Joseph Lett who was seen on the beach said he was thankful to be out.
“I was missing this all the timer. I want to say thanks again. We just have to be careful. This is a good exercise to meet up with good friends and chat. I came here to taste the water so the family will come after,” he said.
Josel Cambridge said he too was ecstatic.
“I feel relaxed. Everyone is glad to be out to the beach,” he said.
Aty Clifton Hill beach over 30 people were frolicking.
Assistant Manager of Clifton Hill Beach Fitz Patrick said they were very excited and happy that beaches were open once again.
“We are looking to see how we could crank back up and see how we could make some money again. I hope we get a good turnout by this weekend,” he said.
Saying he was hoping for a big turnout, Patrick said everyone must abide by the COVID regulations and take precautions.
Beaches opened for the first time on Monday after being closed since August 17, because of COVID-19. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said there should be no partying on the beach, noting that masks must be worn onshore.
Few flock to Tobago’s reopened beaches
Many seemed to have taken Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s advice not to rush to popular beaches yesterday, especially in Tobago.
People like Therese Waldropt, said they visited Tobago for the weekend in anticipation of the news that beaches will reopen. She said they were glued to their television awaiting the Prime Minister’s announcement.
“When the prime minister announced the reopening on Saturday we said yes beach, Monday, mask on, mask off in the water,” she said.
Twelve-year-old Kai Hall of Arima, vacationing in Tobago as a gift for passing his Secondary Entrance Assessment to attend Holy Cross College, said he too was very excited by the announcement.
“It’s a plus to get to visit the beach too. I only expected to stay with my grandmother in Buccoo,” he said.
Guardian Media asked beachgoers how they felt about wearing masks while on the shore and removing them to enter the water.
Rasheen Hosein said it’s “a good idea.”
“He (Dr Rowley) knows about what we are going through at the time right now, and he has taken the steps to keep us safe.”
However, not all agreed.
Jeneve Hall said it was restrictive.
“If we are all in one group and associating with each other, why do we have to wear masks on the shore? However, we just have to follow the rules.”
At Pigeon Point Heritage Park, manager Maria Yip-John said all COVID-19 protocols were in place.
She said in addition to installing sinks and soaps for hand washing, other measures were introduced like signage and partitions for staff and visitors.
“We now monitor the number of people entering the gate, and when we get to a specific number, we close it. We do not want the place to get overcrowded. We also police the area and set up flags so that people can stay in groups of 10 or less,” she told Guardian Media.