Chamber, TTMA pleased with phased reopening

Entornointeligente.com / The T&T Cham­ber of In­dus­try and Com­merce said it is pleased that the Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced re­duced re­stric­tions for a num­ber of sec­tors which is an im­por­tant step in the econ­o­my re­cov­er­ing.

Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence at the Prime Min­is­ter’s res­i­dence in St Ann’s yes­ter­day, Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley made sev­er­al an­nounce­ments con­cern­ing the re­open­ing of the econ­o­my.

Restau­rants will be re­opened on Ju­ly 19 but it will on­ly for curb­side pick-ups and de­liv­ery.

The man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor will be ful­ly re­opened on Ju­ly 12.

The bor­ders will be re­opened on Ju­ly 17.

The Cham­ber said de­spite the phased re­open­ing, it would have liked this to be ex­tend­ed to on­line re­tail sales and de­liv­ery.

“These com­pa­nies have in­vest­ed in dig­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture and are able to con­duct busi­ness re­spon­si­bly while keep­ing staff and cus­tomers safe and pro­vid­ing much-need­ed ser­vices.”

The cham­ber al­so said that it was hap­py to hear of the ex­pect­ed ar­rival of the 800,000 vac­cines as the coun­try works to­wards achiev­ing herd im­mu­ni­ty.

“The next crit­i­cal suc­cess fac­tor is the vac­ci­na­tion dri­ve and we look for­ward to fur­ther­ing de­tails from the Min­istry of Health. The T&T Cham­ber is com­mit­ted to col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Gov­ern­ment and oth­er pri­vate sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions in the vac­ci­na­tion ef­fort for the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty.”

The Cham­ber said vac­cine lit­er­a­cy was a key as­pect in ad­dress­ing vac­cine hes­i­tan­cy and the T&T Cham­ber con­tin­ues to ag­gres­sive­ly ex­e­cute this pri­vate sec­tor-led ini­tia­tive–the “Let’s each do our part” cam­paign (www.ttbeat­covid19.com).

A state­ment from the Trinidad and To­ba­go Man­u­fac­tur­er’ As­so­ci­a­tion (TTMA) said it was very pleased with the Prime Min­is­ter’s an­nounce­ment of the re­open­ing of the en­tire man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor on Ju­ly 12 along with the re­open­ing of restau­rant and food out­lets.

“This is a step in the right di­rec­tion to get the gears of the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor grind­ing again which will lead to the stim­u­la­tion of the econ­o­my. As the rate of vac­ci­na­tion in­creas­es and the econ­o­my con­tin­ues to un­lock, jobs will be re-in­stat­ed and we are hop­ing this will al­so lead to a con­tin­u­al up­take of the econ­o­my. We con­tin­ue to stand by ‘vac­ci­nate to op­er­ate’. This is the on­ly way we can pre­serve lives in or­der to pre­serve liveli­hood.”

George: It’s bit­ter­sweet

Own­er of the Trent Restau­rant Group, Pe­ter George Jr told the Sun­day Guardian that the par­tial re­open­ing of restau­rants on Ju­ly 19 is a small step for an in­dus­try that has been dec­i­mat­ed.

“Every an­gle of the restau­rant busi­ness has been re­strict­ed over the last 18 months. The open­ing of restau­rants now is bit­ter­sweet.”

He said there was the pos­si­bil­i­ty that if the macro­econ­o­my is not sta­bilised then more restau­rants will close their doors in the near fu­ture.

“We have been here two or three times. The Gov­ern­ment has not used tax­pay­ers’ mon­ey to help us. The plan can­not be to just re­open busi­ness­es as you must un­der­stand the cat­a­stroph­ic dam­age that has been done to the econ­o­my since last year. I fore­see more restau­rants not re­open­ing. Busi­ness­es have been closed, in­comes have been at­ro­phied, peo­ple have not got­ten paid. They have a tremen­dous bur­den with banks.”

Hal­lelu­jah! Pres­tige Hold­ings’ CEO re­joic­es

“Hal­lelu­jah!”

This was the ini­tial re­ac­tion of Pres­tige Hold­ings’ CEO Si­mon Hardy to the Gov­ern­ment’s ap­prov­ing the par­tial re­open­ing of the restau­rant in­dus­try.

Pres­tige Hold­ings op­er­ates KFC, Piz­za Hut, Sub­way, TGI Fri­days and the Star­bucks brands.

In ear­ly May, the Gov­ern­ment or­dered the clo­sure of restau­rants and road­side vend­ing.

“We are very pleased and ex­cit­ed to hear the Prime Min­is­ter an­nounce to­day the re­open­ing. It’s been a very long, hard road for our em­ploy­ees, the com­pa­ny, and the coun­try over the last two and a half months,” he told the Sun­day Guardian.

He said in 2018 Pres­tige Hold­ings made a loss of rough­ly $18 mil­lion while for the first of 2021, the loss be­fore tax was $20 mil­lion.

“That is just the loss­es. Some­one in the de­vel­oped world said com­bat­ing COVID cost them 20 per cent of Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct (GDP). Where would we have all been has COVID not hap­pened?”

LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian

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