We wish we could put our businesses outside

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Sherry Persad, President of the TT Members Club Association and Director of Ma Pau Casino. – Photo by Sureash Cholai

Sherry Persad, president of the TT Members Club Association, is devastated that her employees and other casino employees have to stay home for three weeks.

Persad spoke to Newsday in a phone interview on Friday, the day after the Prime Minister announced that all casinos, among certain other businesses, would be closed owing to a spike in covid19 infections.

“I know that the situation is grave, but I hope everyone does what they have to do so we can open up on May 24. We know this is a challenging time. Not getting an income is hard.”

She said last year’s lockdown put casinos in a “terrible state.”

During the last lockdown, some restaurants pivoted their operations to packaging and distributing their food in grocery stores. Other restaurants pitched tents on the street to sell their food.

“We don’t have anything that we can do to diversify…I wish we could come out and put our businesses outside. “

She does not understand why casinos were chosen to close down, saying there was not much congregation in those spaces.

“People just go to machines. We have separators on all our machines so no one is next to each other. We were following the covid19 protocols.”

She said even when they opened at half-capacity it was difficult, because people were wary for their safety, so they weren’t going to casinos as much, but it was an income nonetheless.

“It was little, but our staff was getting a salary, they were able to meet expenses. It wasn’t great, but we were thankful.

“We sympathise with all the other industries and everyone who has to be without a job…We support everyone’s businesses. Everyone has to make an income.”

Persad hopes there will be a full and comprehensive vaccination rollout in which the majority of people are vaccinated so that life can return to normal.

“Covid19 is going to be here for a long time, and we have to deal with it by getting vaccines out,” she said.

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