FLASHBACK… Two police officers make a site visit to a bar at King’s Wharf, San Fernando, on Wednesday, to ensure closure procedures were being followed. (Image: INNIS FRANCIS)

The Bar Owners / Operators Association of Trinidad & Tobago (BOATT) is calling on Government to ease current public health restrictions imposed for the COVID-19 crisis, and to allow them to open earlier than scheduled.

In a news release, BOATT says it is developing a policy document for its members on how to “operate in the new normal”, and is hoping Government considers allowing bars and pubs to operate once more, during the Phase 4 period, outlined for the reopening of the T&T economy.

During Phase 4, malls, retail stores and beaches are targeted for resuming full operations.

The full text of the statement issued by the Association, follows.

The recently formed Bar Owners/Operators Association of Trinidad & Tobago (B.O.A.T.T.) is calling on the Prime Minister, Minister of Trade and the Minister of Health to include the Bar industry in the 4th phase of businesses reopening. The B.O.A.T.T is in the process of developing a COVID-19 Policy for Bar Operations and is working with its membership to ensure that they would be compliant in time for opening.

The B.O.A.T.T. wishes to point out that our sector was the first to be shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and now due to the excellent management of the crisis by our Public Health Officials and the Ministry of Health resulting in the flattening of the curve, urgent consideration should be given to the reopening of our sector in line with the new normal.

The B.O.A.T.T. membership (which is growing everyday) currently stands at 156 member bars with 884 employees; the wider bar sector has an approx. 5000 bars (Government 2017 estimate) throughout the country with an estimated 20,000+ employees. Taking into consideration these employees and their dependents the closure of the sector has impacted an estimated 80,000+ persons directly and another estimated 20,000+ small suppliers and service providers indirectly. Both direct and indirect total 100,000 + persons affected.

The B.O.A.T.T looks forward in engaging all the relevant STAKEHOLDERS on the way forward and operating business during this critical period.

Image courtesy Ministry of Communications.