Health Minister, Terrence Deyalsingh, said any change in policy concerning bars will have to come from the Attorney General.
He made the comment during Saturday’s media briefing, in light of a request by the Barkeepers and Operators Association to place a temporary ban on the consumption of alcohol in public places.
Deyalsingh admitted that the association has been very cooperative with the ministry in enforcing Covid19 protocols, but he said the suggestion to amend the health protocols was a matter for Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
The Bar owners have asked that government prohibit the Consumption of Alcohol and its related products in all Public Places for a sixty (60) day period and implement an Open Container Policy with respect to alcohol canisters for the purpose of consumption in all Public Places for a sixty (60) day period.
The Bar Association said while it agrees that bar owners must be held responsible for activities within their premises and carparks, bar owners SHOULD NOT be held responsible for public roadways, pavements and adjacent properties, bar owners can only ask and use moral suasion to the public to adhere to the regulations but we have NO authority to direct or instruct anyone outside of our premises and carparks to conform and therefore CANNOT be held responsible for this.
They said while bars, restaurants, cinemas and casinos have been restricted from the consumption of alcohol and food on it premises and precincts, the general public is still allowed to congregate and consume alcohol in all public spaces for example
Savannah’s, Mall car parks, Supermarket & Wholesalers premises and precincts and also at locations where alcohol is being sold illegally, mini marts, vegetable stalls and street vendors.
The association added that if food and alcohol consumption are deemed high risk at controlled legal business establishments, then it should be deemed an even greater risk in public spaces where there’s no measure of control.
BOATT also stated that equitable enforcement from the TTPS and consistency in policy, structure and implementation of restrictions by those in authority is necessary as legal business establishment are being used as soft targets and is a reactive approach when it is in the public interest to have a proactive solution to mitigate these unnecessary spikes in COVID 19 cases.