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The Chamber of Industry and Commerce is hoping that other sectors forced to close during the COVID-19 lockdown would be allowed to reopen soon but said it was dependent on the “collective actions” of citizens.

In a statement, the chamber said it was “relieved that the Government has agreed to allow the retail sector to open. This is hopefully another step towards reopening sectors which are still closed such as cinemas, day spas and salons, churches etc, and to allowing full operations in others, such as the restaurant industry.”

It added the country was yet to understand the true long-term economic impact on citizens and businesses.

“Many of our businesses have been significantly affected since March 2020 and cannot sustain more of these cycles of opening and closures. Our collective actions in the coming weeks will determine whether we can continue to open additional sectors safely or face another wave of infections.”

The chamber urged citizens and businesses to collectively take personal responsibility to follow the health protocols; wash hands, wear masks and socially distance. It also called on businesses to do their part to provide a safe environment for their employees and customers by implementing robust health and safety standards.

The chamber said, “The decision to get vaccinated has to be a layer of protection that our citizens take to protect us all from hospitalisation, curb the death rate and ultimately preserve lives and livelihoods. Vaccination is also critical in protecting us against existing variants and preventing the emergence of new variants.”

It added that regardless of the variant, almost all hospitalisations and deaths are preventable once an individual is vaccinated.

It said Trinidad and Tobago needs to achieve herd immunity so that the country can sustainably restart all sectors of the economy and to get society closer to the way it was before the virus took hold.

As such the Chamber is encouraging citizens to get vaccinated and reach out to a trusted medical professional to discuss any concerns.