3091527
Chaguanas Mayor Faaiq Mohammed, second from left, and deputy Mayor Marissa Ramlogan, right, oversee the sanitisation of the Chaguanas Market on Sunday evening.

Shastri Boodan

The Chaguanas Market will be reopened today following a sanitisation exercise after a vendor tested positive for the disease.

Chaguanas Mayor Faaiq Mohammed confirmed the reopening yesterday after indicating that they had received the go-ahead from the Ministry of Health to reopen the facility after being ordered to close it on Saturday following confirmation that a vendor had tested positive.

Mohammed said the ministry officials have also done contact tracing and notified affected persons.

However, he said the council of the Chaguanas Borough Corporation is expected to meet on Thursday to determine whether new protocols should be initiated at the market facility. He said one of the options will be to consider whether customers should be allowed to shop in groups rather than have the facility opened to an unlimited number of shoppers at any given time.

The move to close the market had vendors who use the cold storage facility worried. Vendors told Guardian Media that the facility has a faulty cold storage facility and they were worried that the cold storage may break down during the closure period and cost them thousands of dollars in losses. They said the refrigeration equipment needs gassing and the CBC was not doing repairs, including fixing the locking mechanism on the freezer. They also said the freezer does not seal properly and anyone can break in and steal their meat.

Asked for a comment on the vendors’ concern, Mohamed said he had spoken to the Works Supervisor III at the corporation yesterday and was told that the chillers are due for servicing and are expected to be fully operational by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCIC) president Richie Sookhai believes illegal ports of entry should be locked down to prevent any more COVID-19 cases from entering T&T.

Sookhai said one of the biggest challenges facing health authorities was dealing with the influx of illegal immigrants infected with COVID-19 entering local shores. He said he believes the Government has the legal ports well covered but illegal ports need more manpower.

He also urged the population to have some patience and adhere to the COVID-19 protocols. He said once vaccines start being administered a level of herd immunity will eventually be established and the economy will start returning to some sense of normalcy.