Health minister urges people to limit outdoor activity to only essential activity


Police on patrol slow down as they pass a bar in St James on Thursday. – Vidya Thurab

HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh on Saturday said unnecessary liming and socialising in public are contributing to rising numbers of covid19 cases in Trinidad and Tobago.

In making this observation at the ministry’s virtual health news conference, Deyalsingh said, “It is the liming and the socialising in that 20, 29, 30, 40, early 50’s age group that is driving this second wave again.” The briefing took place at TTT’s studios in Maraval.

To emphasise his point, Deyalsingh disclosed, “In coming to this press conference this morning, I could not help but notice right outside TTT… right across from TTT… there is a bar and you had fellas liming outside the bar… leaning on the railing, sitting on the railing … with their beers in hand and masks off.” He added, “This is the type of behaviour that we are trying to discourage.”

Deyalsingh urged citizens to ” get on board with the programme, which is curtail your activities to essential activities.” He listed “working, groceries, supermarkets, pharmacies” as essential activities. “We don’t need to be liming.” He praised police officers for enforcing covid19 protocols and appealed to people not to give the police unnecessary work to do. Deyalsingh appealed to limers, “Don’t be part of the problem. Let’s all be part of the solution.”

During the briefing, Deyalsingh was asked to comment on a statement by the Bar Owners Association that bars were not responsible for people congregating at bars and an open container beverage policy should be considered where people can buy beverages and then leave.

He said the association has been very cooperative with the ministry in enforcing covid19 protocols but the suggestion to amend the health protocols was a matter for Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.

On a proposal for an open container beverage policy, Deyalsingh replied, “I cannot say yea or nay at this point in time because that may require some legislative tweaking.” He was uncertain whether this issue could be handled under the existing covid19 regulations. Deyalsingh promised to discuss these matters with Al-Rawi.

On recently re-implemented regulations, Deyalsingh said, “The regulations are pretty clear.” He said any activity held within a place of worship (church, mosque, mandir etc), has a “25 per cent capacity.” Deyalsingh said that included weddings and funerals held inside places of worship.

For funerals and weddings held outside of such establishments in a public space (e.g a burial in a cemetery), Deyalsingh said the law only allows ten people to be present for those events.

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