President of the Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) Teron Mohan is somewhat grateful that bars weren’t shut down completely, but he believes the new ‘grab and go’ restriction will be a problem and it will hurt members.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced a spate of restrictions in light of the spike in Covid19 cases, among them, the requirement for bars to operate as a pick-up and takeaway service only. Patrons will not be allowed to lime and drink their beverages at the location.
Mohan said he fully understood why this measure has become necessary, but he stated that a bar is not a grocery store.
He asked “What’s going to stop a person from just going to the grocery and getting their fill at a much lower cost?” It is going to go downhill. Bars weren’t designed to operate like that.”
Mohan said the arrangement may work for smaller bars, but added, “It’s going to be a problem.”
He said bars came about with a design to entertain, “so if we cannot entertain, then it really doesn’t work and it defeats the purpose entirely.”
He noted that, “The association’s numbers will suffer in the end. The whole industry will get a blow from this.”
Mohan also said he understood the part that bars may have played in the community spread, but says political parties must take responsibility for the part they played as well for the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.
He noted the explosion in numbers came just after election campaigning where, in some instances, crowds of supporters of both major political parties were gathering, in contravention of public health regulations.