The promoter of the Black 2 Blue Carnival concert is defending the event held on Friday night at the Naparima Bowl’s outdoor amphitheatre amid public concerns over possible COVID-19 transmission.
Videos and pictures posted to social media of the event showed scores of people not wearing face masks while singing and dancing.
However, with tensions already high over whether Carnival events should have been allowed amid the pandemic, many were quick to question how the event would affect the country’s epidemiology.
“This is an insult to the doctors and nurses at the hospitals…an insult to regular citizens who aren’t vaccinated but are demonised like they’re the ones causing this pandemic. You want me wear a mask in my own car with people I live with…and this dotishness taking place? We really upside down in this country yes,” Sudesh Christo said under Guardian Media’s video of the event on its Facebook page.
Another user, Nisha Persad aid, “Some operate like vaccinated can’t get or carry covid, some even dying too and the unvaccinated some surviving, I seeing some comments here and is like some of you is shrimps, I hope those of you in these safe zone parties don’t overcrowd the health system because who is to be blame.”
However, the director of the company, illuSions, that hosted the event, Damian Baboolal said they anticipated the negative feedback.
He noted that many of the comments stemmed from people not understanding the full context of what transpired that night.
He told Guardian Media people were restricted to certain zones which meant those dancing were doing so with their crew for the night.
“If you look back at the video carefully you’d see people dancing within their specific areas,” he said.
“They came with their boyfriend, your wife, or your husband or family member. That’s who you sat with and you would have been able to dance with a bit.”
He said many of the patrons were also seen without facemasks because they were eating or drinking.
“When a video or picture is taken, yeah a mask might be off because you might be drinking right? So I think that’s one thing people didn’t know or understand,” he said.
This, he said, was no different than what occurs in other safe zones such as bars or restaurants.
Internal medicine specialist Dr Joel Teelucksingh said the risk of transmission would be reduced because the event was held in an outdoor, open-air setting.
However, he noted this did not eliminate the risk entirely.
“There is nothing like a total safe zone. An absolute safe zone does not exist especially with the arrival of highly transmissible variants such as for the Omicron (which) has the potential to evade vaccines,” he said.
“If you find you’re in those close, crowded areas you still want to consider a high filtration mask such as an N95 and bearing in mind that shouting, singing and talking are all ways particles can be spread.”
He said now is the time where people need to ask themselves “what they should do, not what they can do.”