Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Keith Rowley has announced that the country’s economy will begin a phased reopening on Thursday, May 21.
The announcement was made during a media conference by Rowley today.
Come Thursday, the entire manufacturing sector, construction, laundry and dry cleaning shops and mechanic and tyre shops will reopen.
As a condition of reopening, the businesses must ensure that employees and customers maintain physical distance, wear masks and other measures covered under the Public Health Regulations on the coronavirus.
“The biggest threat we face right now is to subsume national interest with self-interest…”– Prime Minister Keith Rowley
In making the announcement, Rowley emphasised that all businesses must follow a “no mask, no service” rule.
He further noted that police will patrol with health officers to ensure compliance with the regulations.
Public transportation will continue to operate at 50 per cent passenger capacity, a requirement which will be enforced by the police.
Also, a one-off $2,000 Fuel Support Grant will be provided to maxi taxi operators to help them.
Despite the announced measures, Rowley said spas and barbershops will remain closed as they pose a great risk in the spread of COVID-19.
Rowley said the Government will not be tempted to hastily reopen the economy, noting that countries that have eased restrictions, including China, Germany and South Korea, early are now facing a second wave of the virus pandemic. “The thing you do is to continue to measure the risk, follow the science, make opening up decisions based on our understanding of the threat that could come and also how much we have been successful.”
Rowley added, “The biggest threat we face right now is to subsume national interest with self-interest and to listen carefully to the voices who will tell you that I am safe because my family and I will be in a safe place because you put them in a safe place. Look at who have been dying around the world in response to this virus, dying largely because of how they live, where they live and how they cannot withdraw, they are the ones who are dying and that’s a distinction you have to make.”