November 11, 2020

Bar Owners Question Health Professionals Justification For Alcohol Ban

By Newsroom

The Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) is asking for further clarification as it pertains to the reasoning behind banning alcohol consumption in restaurants. 

Last Saturday, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley announced government’s decision to permit in-house dining at 50% capacity, with a total ban on the serving of alcohol.

At a press briefing on Monday, Principal Medical Officer Dr. Maryam Abdool-Richards stated, “As regards, the decision for restricting alcohol at restaurants and the closure of bars, this is a policy decision that was taken by a group of persons based on the science and evidence on the impact of  alcohol. In summary, we believe that alcohol, from a behavioral pattern, causes a disinhibition of behavior and thus results in persons reducing their anti-covid measures, in terms of face mask wearing and proximity, thus increasing their risk of COVID 19 transmission.”

In a statement on Monday night, BOATT questioned the sensibility in such a reasoning, and called on Dr. Richards to further clarify. 

“Based on this statement, one can congregate any and everywhere in Trinidad and Tobago, including streets and sidewalk, consume alcohol, but only when you enter a Restaurant or Bar, alcohol causes a disinhibition of behavior and that there is scientific data and evidence to support this” BOATT said. 

The Association repeated its frustration over the decision to extend the ban on in-house services at bars, lamenting that “the Prime Minister decision that affects the livelihood of over 100,000 employees that are employed in food and beverage sector of whom have suffered tremendously over the past 8 months.”

At last Saturday’s press briefing, Dr. Rowley acknowledged the plight of bar owners and operators, however asked for a bit more patience, noting that the sector poses “a significant risk” of super-spread of the virus.