2199125

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was right to read the riot act to bar owners who have done little or nothing to control their patrons since reopening one week ago.

Dr Rowley warned that if the situation continues he will revert to his previous decision to keep bars closed.

While bar owners felt the irresponsible behaviour of a few should not affect the majority, Peter will pay for Paul if the situation is not contained and proper protocols are not followed.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh referred to social media photos of jam-packed bars with no social distancing and no protocols observed.

The situation in Florida and other countries show the devastating impact of failure to adhere to proper pandemic protocols.

Yesterday, a John Hopkins University study revealed that more than 11 million people around the globe have tested positive for COVID-19. T&T is lucky that the authorities here acted swiftly to ensure the spread of the virus was contained.

The closure of bars had a devastating impact on bar owners and manufacturers of alcoholic beverages who depend on bars for the bulk of their sales.

For months bar owners clamoured for permission to reopen, so it is difficult to understand why they have not put measures in place for proper pandemic protocols and social distancing.

President of the Bar Owners and Operators Association Terry Mohan claims they have not been able to put a system in place to monitor the activities in bars to ensure compliance.

At a press conference yesterday, this association again laid out a case for bars to remain open. Their members should have had no difficulty in ensuring compliance.

Dr Rowley said there are two Bs which are important, “one is borders which must be tightly managed and the other is bars, which will be closed by Monday if the reporting coming to me are the same reports that came to me last night. That people have reopened bars and are doing exactly what we asked them not to do. What is happening now is the environment to create community spread?”

Mohan and his association would do well to ensure full compliance by their patrons or risk another closure which could lead to closure of bars and loss of jobs.

COVID-19 is no joke. T&T has done well so far, but those gains could be lost if we throw caution to the wind.

It’s in everyone’s interest to do the right thing.