FLASHBACK – A member of the public is vaccinated against COVID-19 by a healthcare worker in August 2021, at the mass vaccination site at NAPA, which was managed by the Joint Chambers.

Local business chambers have indicated their support for Government’s plan to introduce “safe zones”, which will allow for the reopening of many entertainment and recreational spaces across the country.

In the joint statement issued today, the Joint Chambers note such a move makes it possible for the country to live with the pandemic, and they also encourage citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the Delta Variant continues to make its presence felt among the population.

The following is the full text of the statement issued by the Joint Chambers…

AMCHAM T&T, the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago, the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Trinidad & Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (the Joint Chambers) warmly welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of the introduction of “safe zones” to allow the reopening of restaurants, bars, cinemas, gyms, casinos and other similar establishments. The announced measures will help protect the health of both customers and employees, as the country continues to rollout the national COVID-19 vaccination programme. Further, such a measure would allow citizens to recover after a period of not earning regular incomes over the last few months.

Similar measures have been introduced in many countries regionally and across the world, as we collectively learn to live in a COVID-19 environment. Many countries in Europe and Asia have already implemented similar national measures to protect public health, while in the USA and Canada similar policies have been introduced at city, state and/or provincial levels. Within the Caribbean community, Guyana and Belize have already implemented regulations requiring all visitors to public buildings be vaccinated, while Antigua and Barbuda has mandated vaccinations for all public servants, public transport drivers and many other people interacting with the public.

Members of the Joint Chambers and the wider private-sector have worked in close partnership with the Government to roll-out the mass vaccination programme over the past few months and to educate the public on the importance of vaccination as a high priority. The majority of our employees and many other citizens have been vaccinated in establishments run by the private-sector, and businesses are continuing to assist the Ministry of Health in the roll-out of the current community-based vaccination programmes. There has been an unprecedented programme of public-private partnership in the efforts to protect lives through vaccinations.

The Joint Chambers commit to continuing this partnership with government in this new phase of the battle against COVID-19, as we implement the “safe zones” policies. The Joint Chambers know that we all need to continue to work together to move our Republic forward and toward the continued easing of restrictions. In this regard, we urge all citizens—vaccinated and unvaccinated—to continue to practice responsible behaviour by wearing masks, socially distancing and sanitizing frequently.

We also take this opportunity to appeal to citizens to follow the science and get vaccinated. T&T is in the fortunate position of having vaccine choice at a time when many countries around the world have no access to vaccines. With the Delta variant present in the population, vaccination is the safest way to protect against severe illness and the need for hospitalization.

We are all in this together and once again reaffirm our commitment to doing our part to combat the effects of this deadly disease.