Shira Mohammed.

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Founder of the Trinidad and Tobago Restaurant Week, Shira Mohammed believes the government’s decision to debar the sale of alcohol at restaurants even as in-house dining resumes, was a stratagem to prevent restaurants from turning into bars.

In an interview with Guardian Media yesterday, Mohammed said, “I honestly think the decision to keep alcohol as a ban even when resuming in-house dining is really to minimise the sale of alcohol or encouraging people to turn restaurants into bars.”

At the same time, however, Mohammed acknowledged the anguish of bar operators.

“If bars are unable to open it is very sad because that’s an entire industry. I mean every corner of Trinidad and Tobago has a rum shop and depend on the sale of alcohol and Trinidadians love to consume alcohol, so it is really part of our culture and it is really unfortunate,” she related.

Mohammed was grateful however that the decision not to restart gatherings at bars did not affect the opening of restaurants.

Speaking on the resumption of in-house dining being permitted again, Mohammed said she was happy it was happening and the authorities decided on it.

She said the reconvening of in-house dining would assist the restaurant industry, which was in dire need of assistance having suffered great financial loss over the months due to the pandemic—some even forced to close down.

During an address at the Diplomatic Centre on Saturday, Rowley announced the additional ease to restrictions which formed health measures in place to curb further spread of COVID-19 in T&T.

Among several restrictions lifted were in house dining which would now operate at 50 per cent capacity with no sale or servings of alcohol. Gatherings of ten are permitted but only with physical distancing protocols intact.

Food can be now purchased and consumed at cinemas, which are charged to only operate at 50 per cent capacity. While people of their respective faith could fellowship for 90 minutes instead of an hour.

Training resumes for sporting teams qualifying for both national and international events. Allowed only are team support groups limited to ten persons and Caribbean Airlines allowed increasing flights for domestic travel with COVID-19 protocols in effect.