Ministry outlines COVID-19 reopening protocols

“We must save lives and save livelihoods.”

This was the word from Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce CEO Gabriel Faria, as he said the business community wants to do “what’s right to keep our employees and consumers safe” and will obey the safe to open protocols unveiled Tuesday by Ministry of Health officials.

Faria told Guardian Media the chamber had been working closely with the ministry on the protocols for reopening, “looking at global best practices.”

He said the ultimate aim is to ensure there is not a “second wave” of COVID-19.

The ministry unveiled stringent protocols for the reopening of business at the daily COVID-19 news conference, giving the first tangible hint that businesses closed for more than a month now could get the state’s green light to reopen soon.

As the date moves closer to May 10 and this country awaits the removal of Stay-at-Home restrictions, Director of Veterinary Public Health Dr Saed Rahaman confirmed the ministry had been working hand in hand with the business community in preparation for the lifting of current restrictions.

Addressing what he said will be the new normal, Rahaman said there must be a paradigm shift by all stakeholders, employers, employees, as well as the community they serve. He said a committee established by the ministry had been mandated to work with the business community to develop mitigating strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to the normal hazard prevention strategies that already exist, Rahaman said “all employers should now develop and implement infection disease strategies geared towards COVID-19.”

He said business owners have been advised to establish committees within their companies to undertake a risk assessment and develop prevention control strategies.

To achieve this, Rahaman said guidelines have already been developed for supermarkets and street vendors and the Public Health Inspectorate “is conducting surveillance to determine compliance with these guidelines.”

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