With citizens still trying to adapt to the new normal created by COVID-19, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello is giving some leeway to people who are feeding displaced persons on the streets.

The mayor had taken a zero-tolerance policy to people feeding street dwellers in public spaces.

However, speaking at a COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday at City Hall, Regrello said, “This is unprecedented times and around this time there must be a level of flexibility. Last Sunday I saw a vehicle pulled up and was feeding the homeless. I turned a blind eye to that in the city based on where we are.”

Regrello was also asked to shed some light on the status of the Centre for Displaced Persons in San Fernando, similar to the one established in Port-of-Spain to provide shelter to street dwellers amidst COVID-19.

He said last week a proposal was sent to the Ministry of Social Development by the NGO operating the Centre for Displaced Persons at Lady Hailes Avenue.

He said the plan is for that center is supposed to be renovated and outfitted with live-in facilities for the street dwellers.

“It will take a while because we are talking about having professionals operating 24 hours with a two-shift system and also making the facility adequate to have persons sleeping over,” he noted.

Meanwhile, he said the centre is still operating but providing only take-away meals. In terms of the markets, he said the corporation has installed washbasins, hand sanitisers, and soap for all persons going into the market.

Sanitation Foreman 3, Gerard Ramarack said daily cleaning, including scrubbing of stalls and floors and waste removal is taking place at the Central Market on Mucurapo Street.

While vendors have objected to being stopped from leaving their goods overnight in the market, he said not only does the storage of goods hamper their cleaning but it is unsanitary.

Ramarack said there is no proper storage for goods and when left there it encourages rodents and cockroaches.

The mayor, however, said they have been allowing the vendors to leave their goods in the market from Friday to Sunday.

As a result of regular cleanings and sanitation, he said there has been an increase in customers at the market.

Going forward, the mayor said they will consider installing proper storage for goods and security.

With regard to the conditions of the fish market, he said he will be meeting with the vendors to hear their concerns and try to find a solution.