The Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) is pleading with the Prime Minister to relax the present restriction on bars as to allow their businesses to operate at 50% capacity together with the full implementation and adherence to the health guidelines at our establishments.
In a release this afternoon, BOATT said “the bar owners, employees and by extension our families have endured tremendous challenges and struggles over the past 8 months, both mentally and financially. Bar owners are struggling to make ends meet, as the current ‘buy and go’ system isn’t profitable. Rising debt has become part of the norm, while some have already witnessed their life savings, hard-work and investments vanish, and are now at the point of bankruptcy.
“Presently, persons are given the opportunity with an acceptable measure of risk, to congregate in groups of ten and can consume alcohol in all public spaces in Trinidad and Tobago except on the premises and precincts of bars which are licensed to do so.
The Association is only asking for equal opportunity for bars, the risk factor will be minimum at bars due to their controlled environments.
The association said they have reinvented, did personal trainings and implemented all the proper health guidelines and protocols to create a safe and controlled environment for patrons.
They are urging the government through the TTPS and health inspectorate to hold all bar owners accountable for their individual establishments and welcome the necessary controls and fines associated with non-compliance.
The BOATT said “If the present restrictions are not relaxed, then government financial assistance will be needed, as well as new consultations with all stakeholders on a new way forward for our industry. We are not asking for any handouts or grants but government secured loans to sustain our businesses and provide for our employees and families. These loans would be at no cost to the taxpayers, as they would be repaid in a timely manner.”