2199125

When Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley faces the country on Saturday to pronounce on current COVID-19 restrictions, it will be two months before Christmas.

His announcements, therefore, are likely to set the stage for the busiest commercial period of the year.

With the significant loss of jobs and heavy toll on businesses in the last three quarters, things just simply cannot continue the way they are.

As expected, the reports from the health experts this week will be vital to the Government’s decisions.

Notably, we have seen a significant reduction in daily cases since the Government imposed its second round of restrictions and as such, has promised an easing of measures once things don’t fall apart. Thankfully, thus far, they haven’t.

This media house has always called for the highest levels of responsibility in addressing this devastating virus. We also have continually urged responsibility in addressing the economic crisis that COVID-19 has created.

We agree with the World Health Organisation that sustained lockdowns can do more harm than good.

However, finding the right balance between saving lives and livelihoods requires compromise on all sides.

Today, representatives of the cinema sector, Caribbean Association of Event Professionals, T&T Members’ Clubs Association, T&T Alcohol Beverage Alliance, Bar Owners’ Association of T&T, Food & Beverage sector and the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce will present their plans for a balanced reopening of the establishments in the sectors they control.

In a joint statement yesterday, they promised to provide actionable recommendations for monitoring and evaluation to ensure a continued safe environment for customers and employees and to help in restarting the economy by contributing to growth and employment.

Their news conference today is, therefore, critical and timely.

It is important that these organisations present to the Government and the nation, measures that would strike the right balance.

We are aware that many business owners have been holding out until Christmas before making decisions on their futures.

With the right approach, we hope to see closed doors and empty kiosks reopened again at some of the nation’s malls.

These seven organisations, therefore, find themselves as the main act today and we trust that their proposals are sound enough to truly benefit us all.

And speaking of compromise, we wish to commend the T&T Airline Pilots’ Association (TTALPA) and Caribbean Airlines for presenting to us all a good example of mature negotiations.

With pilots facing three months without pay, the association and airline sat down and negotiated a way to keep the organisation running to the benefit of all, the pilots in return agreeing to take home a little over 40 per cent of what they currently earn instead of nothing at all.

We view this as the proper approach needed in this time­—finding the right balance.