The government of Trinidad and Tobago has decided to keep alcohol sales and serving banned in restaurants as COVID-19 lockdown measures are being eased and restaurants are allowed to re-open for dining-in.

Trinidad and Tobago is a dual-island Caribbean nation near Venezuela, in the continent of South America. The nation’s capital is Port of Spain. Trinidad is the larger island and the fifth largest one in the region of the West Indies.

The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has recently announced that restaurants can allow dining-in at 50% capacity but alcohol sale and serving is to stay banned. The reason given is that alcohol has been found to increase risk of COVID-19 spread in the community.

Considering the effect restrictions will have on those employed in this sector, the prime minister announced later on in November of a $10 million allocation to assist bar and restaurant workers who have been financially affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

A scientific study reported by Movendi International found that young adults who used alcohol heavily had reduced adherence to guidelines to reduce COVID-19.

Alcohol has been shown to be one of the contributors to the results that we don’t want, where people consume alcohol and it reduces their level of responsibilities,” said Dr. Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, as per Newsday.

Dr. Rowley, Prime Minister, Trinidad and Tobago

The decision is in line with World Health Organization (WHO) advice to reduce alcohol availability during the pandemic. Reducing alcohol availability helps to relieve the pandemic burden for several reasons.

  1. Alcohol weakens the immune systemand thus increases the risk of infection and of more severe COVID-19 disease progression,
  2. Alcohol is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, which are conditions that contribute to more severe COVID-19 disease progression,
  3. Alcohol-related disease, violence and injury increase the avoidable burden on healthcare and emergency services which are already near or over capacity during the current public health crisis, and
  4. Alcohol consumption sites and events have been shown to be hotspots for COVID-19 spread in the wider community.

Some restaurants are complaining that not serving alcohol will cut their profits, but others are grateful for the ability open up even at lower capacity and without alcohol sale. In a positive move some restaurants are thinking about serving more alcohol-free beverages to accompany meals of customers.

…we are still very thankful to have the in-house dining. We are not taking anything for granted,” said Ryan Chin, director at Dachin Group of Companies which owns several restaurants in Trinidad and Tobago, as per Newsday.

We can probably offer mocktails and more non-alcoholic drinks to add to that experience.”

Ryan Chin, Director, Dachin Group of Companies

[This story was updated on November 27, 2020 as per new information from Daily Express]

Source Website: Newsday