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Customers line up outside T&TEC’s offices at the corner of Wilson Road and Post Office Street, Scarborough, Tobago yesterday.

Casandra Thompson-Forbes

Scores of customers lined up outside the T&TEC service centre in Tobago, after the doors were reopened yesterday.

The 14 Service Centres across T&T restarted operations after the doors were closed, due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order.

Many customers said, they arrived at the Tobago Centre as early as 6am.

In an interview with Guardian Media, T&TEC’s Corporate Communications Manager Annabelle Brasnell said, they reopened at 8am to accommodate bill payments only

“ This would have stemmed from the fact that customers were indicating to a certain extent, they wanted to pay their bills at the Service Centres, while we have had an increase in participation in doing business online and shifting to online services, it was still a percentage of customers who wanted to use the service centres and so we opened to be able to cater to those customer” she said.

Many customers said, the process was time consuming and complained of having to stand in the sun for long periods before entering the building, but said, it was a small price to pay to avoid their accounts being in arrears. Brasnell said, the long lines were evidence that social distancing was being adhered to

“The lines that you’re seeing in part comes from the fact that we are practicing the social distancing. We would have done a lot of work in all of our service centres, including Tobago, to change the infrastructure to increase the safety of both the customers and the staff. Before we closed at the end of March, we would have installed a certain number of barriers in service centres, that is to reduce the physical contact between the staff and customers, we increased that infrastructure in the last week and a half and to reduce that contact between the two sets of people” she said.

She also said, several other safety measures were put in place for the protection of customers and staff alike. Brasnell said, all customers are required to wear masks, they must also wash their hands or use hand sanitizers and their temperature would be taken before entering the service centres. She said, these measures were put in place for the protection of customers and staff alike.