TT Chamber of Commerce CEO Gabriel Faria says there are many businesses that “do not have the full capacity to support another lockdown.” He was responding to questions about the Prime Minister’s announcement that many lockdown measures will be reintroduced from Monday.
Dr Rowley was speaking at a press conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s on Saturday afternoon.
Some of the decisions taken included closing places of worship, gyms, cinemas, water parks, casinos and members’ clubs. In addition, no in-house dining will be allowed at bars and restaurants, public gatherings are now limited to five people, contact sports are now banned, and all teaching institutions are to remain closed until further notice and most likely until December 31.
TT is now at the community spread level of the covid19 pandemic, and Rowley said these decisions were made to prevent people from gathering.
Speaking with Newsday on Saturday afternoon, Faria said he was not surprised some lockdown measures had been reintroduced.
“The chamber noted with great concern the increase in infections and we expected some action needed to be taken.”
But he added, “We believe it’s crucial for some fiscal support be produced for the businesses and employers who will be impacted.”
He also said the decision to possibly close schools until December 31 is “concerning.
“How will it impact both the students and the workforce? Once there’s some method where safety protocols are put in place – that’s four months away so we’re hoping there’s some mechanism that hopefully, it can reopen earlier.
“We know that many businesses have put in the safety protocols to allow staff to work from home and many also put the necessary systems to make their customers feel safe.”
He noted, though, that not all businesses seemed to have been adhering to the regulations.
Stefan Chin, CEO of MovieTowne, shared similar sentiments but added that the safety of the public is “paramount.
“We knew what was coming in terms of certain restrictions, given the CMO announcing community spread is occurring. We have to respect the decision in regard to what’s happening.
“While it’s very crippling to our business and our industry, it’s a very different time altogether.”
Asked how business had been for the past month, he said, “It was improving, but in the last two weeks, people were a bit more apprehensive about going out: we had a drop in sales.”
He added, “Every single week, it is hard to plan anything because every single week, things seem to be changing so quickly.”
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