Barkeepers’ and Owners’ Association of Trinidad and Tobago president Satesh Moonasar

The Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) is warning that the bar industry has passed the tipping point and will not survive another complete lockdown of the economy, following today’s additional restrictions announced by the Prime Minister.

Dr Rowley told the nation that as of midnight tonight, all food services—including street food—will be discontinued, as well as all non-essential retail businesses.  The Prime Minister also stated that only essential businesses such as groceries, pharmacies and hardware stores, among others, will be allowed to operate, and they will be open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.

BOATT has expressed concern over the latest restrictions, and says that there must be more Government support and intervention to prevent a complete economic crash.

The following is the full text of the statement from BOATT…

BOATT calls on government for an intervention and assistance

The Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) is deeply troubled and concerned about the latest restrictions imposed on the Bar Industry. The industry has been grappling with closures and restrictions for the past fourteen (14) months with that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel moving further and further away. Bar owners/operators and employees CANNOT withstand another closure without government’s intervention in a positive way, whilst we are engaged in ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Finance with respect to SME loan access and grants promised by the Honourable Prime Minister, we are still breathlessly awaiting a positive response from the Ministry.

The BOATT understands the need for government to protect the citizenry from the wrath of COVID 19, but this must not be done at the detriment of the business fraternity and its employees; businesses must be held responsible for THEIR actions and should NOT be penalized for the population’s lack of discipline and disobedience to guidelines and regulations. The Food and Beverage Sector has been bearing the brunt and burden of restrictions and regulations since the start of the pandemic, the sector has passed tipping point with its only saviour being proactive suggestions and discussions to propel the sector out of doom and into some form of normalcy.

We are urging all business chambers and relevant associations to come forth with proactive recommendations to assist government in its decision-making process when it comes to the restriction of normal business activity.

The BOATT is willing to work alongside any and all stakeholders in channelling initiatives towards the government for discussions and implementation.

Our Trinidad and Tobago is in dire need of help, the government alone cannot win the battle against this dreaded virus, we must all act, behave and do our part in a responsible manner, now is not the time to cast blame on any one group or individual and we must not take a political approach to the situation but rather unite our strength and minds to chart a new way.