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Teron Mohan

The T&T Coalition of Bars & Restaurants president, Teron Mohan, is complaining that the industry has been taking a beating and being used as a scapegoat in this pandemic.

In a press release, Mohan defended his members against statements during the May 22 COVID- 19 update press conference, attended by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds, that pointed fingers at bars for the spike in cases.

“We have taken careful note of statements attributable to Dr Hinds with regards to his opinion that “closure of restaurants, bars, etc. on April 29 and people rushing for “last lap, may be responsible for recent spike to which they have not put forward any empirical evidence to support such a statement,” he said.

He added, “Our industry has taken beating after beating and quite unfairly by representatives of the Ministry of Health for the COVID response team, in particular, Dr Avery Hinds.

Using our industry as the scapegoat when there are many industries that has less health and safety protocols than us is disingenuous to say the least.”

Using the “science” given by the COVID response team, he said Government had implemented restrictions on their business activities and the amount of persons allowed to be in their establishments at any one point in time. While the last number given was five, he said restaurant had a 50 per cent capacity for dining without the service of alcohol.

“We have been under restrictions for quite some time now, and by and large, the majority of the proprietors of our establishments adhere to the health and safety protocols as set out by the Ministry of Health. As with any business activity, there will be errant ones, but we have been complying without complaining,” he said.

He pleaded with Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Roshan Parasram to direct their employees to stick to the facts and not their opinions. Complaining that the industry continues to be unfairly attacked, he said, “Many of our members have been hurting silently and are at wits end, how to do our civic duty and be the defenders of our COVID response when we are always being attacked by the opinions of leading professionals. Our esteemed Prime Minister Dr Rowley had once said that we are all in this together, so why are we always being singled out and unfairly targeted,” Mohan said. (SW)