Businesses eye phased reopening from May 4

This country’s private sector has earmarked Monday (May 4) as the day it will be ready to re-open its doors for business on a phased basis. And they feel they will need all the goodwill they can get to face the current COVID-19 challenge.

Addressing the possibility of reopening businesses on Tuesday, T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce CEO Gabriel Faria said the chamber had submitted a “safe to open” protocol to the sub-committee of the team established to chart a recovery road map for T&T post-COVID.

Faria said he was optimistic the document could work given the recent report from the University of Oxford saying T&T was more ready to exit lockdown measure than most countries currently implementing such measures.

The Oxford survey ranked T&T second only to Vietnam in the world on that readiness.The four measures used by Oxford to rank the countries were control of virus transmission; testing, tracing and isolation policies; management of risk of exporting and importing cases and community engagement.

Faria commended the Health Ministry for its work in helping the country manoeuvre through COVID-19.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber has actually built out a safe to open protocol and we have presented this to a subcommittee of the Road Map to Recovery Committee which goes for everything from shift work, so that employees don’t need to all come to work at the same time, to work from home, so there are very robust safe to work protocols in place,” Faria said.

“And I firmly believe that working in conjunction with the Ministry of Health we have no choice but to also look at how we balance livelihood with saving lives.”

Faria said it was only in an ideal world that a government would be able to pay businesses to remain close. But saying this could not happen, he said the economy needs to be restarted.

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