Several people starved of take out options were given an outlet on Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook, yesterday when El Pecos Grill opened its doors, as a grocery.
The popular restaurant posted on their social media pages that they were indeed open from 9 am to 4 pm and today from 9 am to 5 pm.
Patrons who entered saw shelves full of grocery items including flour, oil, bread, canned peas and toiletries at the newly minted El Pecos on the Go Market.
However, also noticeably present were the meals that the brand had been better known for, prepackaged and ready for sale to customers.
The meals were continuously being replenished as workers could be seen exiting and re-emerging from the compound’s kitchen with fresh packages.
The turn of events prompted questions to be asked about a potential loophole in the Public Health Regulations.
Under the current regulations only essential businesses such as groceries, pharmacies, gas stations and hardwares are allowed to open.
Restaurants have been barred from operating in any form since the end of April while street food vending had been stopped in early May.
When asked at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing about their re-opening, Minister in the Office of Prime Minister Stuart Young gave warning that they could quickly run afoul of the law by attempting to hoodwink the system.
He said, “All I could ask people to do is just respect the law, all right?
“A spade is a spade, a duck is a duck or a rabbit is a rabbit. If you are a rabbit and you feel by putting a duck feather on your back, you become a duck—You’re gonna get yourself in trouble,” said Young, who later urged other business as he expected that the law would have the final say.
“So respect the law. If you know, your restaurant and you’ve been selling food as a restaurant for all the time and in particular as a take out restaurant. Don’t just go and put some, I don’t know I couldn’t spot what it is and call yourself a market. All right, I can’t. It just doesn’t work that as form over substance and you will get yourself in trouble with the law,” Young added.
As it turned out, the law did turn up at the doors of Woodbrook restaurant-grocery hybrid but could not shut down their operations as they had officially been registered as grocery on June 24.
Guardian Media was informed that Senior Supt Kelvern Thompson, head of Western Division, sent a team of officers down to El Pecos after receiving photographs of their operations.
The officers arrived and met the owner who showed documentation that he registered El Pecos as a Grocery, effective June 24.
The police confirmed, “As a result of the documentation seen and copies made, the police left the premises and no action was taken.”