The financial strain brought on by the health measures put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Trinidad and Tobago has proven too much for at least 60 bar owners, who have decided to close up shop.
The statistic was revealed on CNC3’s The Morning Brew yesterday by interim president of the Barkeeper and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) Teron Mohan.
“These are outright closures, persons have had to walk away from their businesses for multiple reasons. The numbers just not making sense, no forgiveness from their landlords or landladies and just their inability to trade entirely,” Mohan said in relation to the resulting scenarios created by the restrictions placed on bar operators under the Public Health guidelines.
Mohan said since the new phase of restrictions commenced on August 17, 65 per cent of bars and restaurants decided not to open. He explained that some tried to operate but with income as low as $100 per day, it made little to no economic sense.
Mohan said the current restrictions on recreational facilities do not make sense.
As part of the ongoing public health regulations, beaches, casinos, cinemas, churches and gyms are among the list of places that are not allowed to open. In the case of bars, they can open but only for takeaway services.
But according to Mohan, bars in particular can be outfitted in such a way that social distancing can be maintained and the business can be allowed to operate.
“As far as putting on so many restrictions, it really doesn’t make sense at all. So I don’t believe that the bars or the beaches, or any of the other territories, really need to be so harshly restricted as they presently are.”
Mohan said the focus should be more on enforcement of the regulations by the relevant agencies.
“Our public officials, our public servants, are more than capable of being able to monitor the situation.”
He maintained that based on their own investigations, bars are not to blame for the second wave of the virus which the country is now experiencing.