Anticipating that a third lockdown is looming after a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, hundreds of citizens yesterday took advantage of the long weekend and flocked to the Maracas and Las Cuevas beaches to get in what they believe was going to be one last soak.
However, visitors to Tyrico were disappointed after learning that the beach had been closed to vehicular traffic.
This directive from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) followed a party at Tyrico back in January, which led officials to effectively shut down that facility, ordering that while people are free to visit this beach, no vehicles would be allowed to access it as customary.
And with the Easter holiday period officially concluding today, many believe it is inevitable that restrictions will again be introduced in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.
Cradling his four-year-old grandson Veer Bisnath in his arms as the two emerged from the water at Maracas around 11 am, Shawn Bedasie, 47, of Las Lomas said they had left home even before the sun had risen in order to get a good spot on the beach.
He related, “Since the COVID started, we have been trying to take a bath but we could never reach yet. It is always traffic, traffic, traffic…no place to bathe…you can’t get a spot. For us to bathe today, we had to leave home around 5.30 am to come here.”
Indicating this was not normal for his family, Bedasie added, “Normally, everybody would get up around 10 or 11 am, do the chores and then come to take a bath but because we so wanted to come today, we had to get up very early.”
Ice-cream salesman Jason Evangelist reported that up to 11.30 am yesterday at Maracas, sales had been “real nice”.
However, he too was anxious that the beaches may once again be closed if people refuse to adhere to public health regulations.
Guardian Media spoke with Devindra Seetaldass of Felicity as he made several trips from his car to Tyrico beach.
Carrying an ice-box and then bags containing food and clothes, Seetaldass said he paid $20 to a roadside vendor to be able to park his car close by, so his wife and three young daughters would not have to walk very far.
Although he understood the need for the TTPS to enforce the law, Seetaldass said it was a bit inconvenient but his family intended to spend the day as planned as he too is expecting a lockdown following the Easter holidays.
With two lifeguards and two TTPS officers stationed at Tyrico, the handful of beach-goers said they felt safe and protected.
One man disagreed with the decision to refuse vehicles access to Tyrico, as he said, “They could have allowed cars to come as normal and issue warnings to persons who playing loud music and wanna zess.”
“By closing it off, the guys who rent the umbrellas and chairs cannot make a living and if there is another lockdown coming….how they expect these people to live?”
He said this group of operators at Tyrico were not able to ply their trade at Maracas and Las Cuevas which effectively meant they are without an income as long as Tyrico remains closed to vehicular traffic.
On March 27, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley urged citizens not to become COVID-weary and act irresponsibly by not wearing masks and congregating in public as the State could not afford to financially support the public or businesses if there is cause for another lockdown.