DOMA president Gregory Aboud.

The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) is calling for even tougher measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19, including a 24-hour curfew on Sundays and an earlier starting time to the current curfew.

DOMA made the call via a statement to the media yesterday after the Ministry of Health reported 23 deaths and 601 new cases, the worse one-day death toll.

“In the midst of today’s serious increase of reported cases and deaths and following the worsening trajectory of the pandemic in Trinidad and Tobago, we wish to respectfully suggest that more serious action is required to stave off more calamity and loss of confidence,” DOMA said.

The Port-of-Spain business association said in the statement that there are examples around us of successful interventions against dangerous waves of this coronavirus “and we feel that waiting to implement tested strategies is putting us at further risk.”

It pointed to two features implemented in Barbados that DOMA said was worthy of duplication.

“A stricter curfew beginning at 6 pm and ending at 5 am on the following morning and a halving of the public’s movement by allowing only those with surnames beginning with A-M out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and allowing those with surnames from N-Z out on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Sunday will be a 24-hour curfew.”

DOMA said crisis management requires a careful pathway between control and panic.

“To allow the numbers to rise uncontrollably to 601 cases with 23 deceased is to invite panic where confidence can be instilled. We are proud and grateful to our leaders for their devotion to this miserable pandemic and we believe that they will have the support of the majority of the population, if stronger measures are imposed,” DOMA said.