Tuesday 26 May, 2020

Update: Gov't rolls out full list of essential services

[iStock.com/Hispanolistic]

[iStock.com/Hispanolistic]

Editor's note: This story was updated to include the details of the Public Health Ordinance issued on Saturday 28 March, 2020 

On Thursday 26 March, Prime Minister Keith Rowley announced that effective midnight on Sunday 29 March, all non-essential activities will be prohibited.

This would be, in the first instance, enforced until April 15, 2020.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Minister of National Security, Stuart Young, detailed some of the services and businesses that are considered essential.

He further appealed to businesses, even if considered to be essential, to only deploy essential staff at this time. Any staff employed with one of the essential services will be required to have in their possession some form of company identification, and/or a letter from their employer.

Essential services include:

During the period specified in regulation 6, persons shall not, without reasonable justification –

(a) be at any work place unless –

(i) the work place is associated with a service specified in subregulation (2);

(ii) the presence of the person at the work place is essential for the carrying out or provision of a service specified in subregulation (2); and

(iii) it is not practicable for the person to work from home; or

(b) gather in any public place where –

(i) the number of persons gathered at any time exceeds ten; and

(ii) the gathering is not associated with a service specified in subregulation (2).

(2) The services referred to in subregulation (1) are -

(a) the Office of the President;

(b) the Parliament and any committees thereof;

(c) the Cabinet and any committees thereof;

(d) the Judiciary, that is to say, the Supreme Court of Judicature, the Magistrates’ Courts, the Industrial Court, the Environmental Commission, the Equal Opportunities Tribunal, the Tax Appeal Board;

(e) the Tobago House of Assembly and any committees thereof;

(f) the Office of Disaster Preparedness and the Tobago Emergency Management Agency;

(g) Protective Services, namely –

(i) the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service;

(ii) the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force;

(iii) the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service;

(iv) the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service;

(v) the Immigration Division;

(vi) the Strategic Services Agency;

(vii) Special Reserve Police;

(viii) Supplemental Police, that is to say, Rural Police and Estate Police;

(ix) Municipal Police Services

(h) primary emergency services, namely State and private emergency ambulance services and all emergency call centres;

(i) law offices and legal services;

(j) the Diplomatic Corps;

(k) basic essential, janitorial and maintenance services concerning the provision of –

(i) health;

(ii) hospital;

(ii) water;

(iii) electricity

(iv) fire;

(iv) sanitation;

(v) civil aviation; and

(vi) telecommunications;

(l) services supporting the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations including -

(i) water and sewer main breaks;

(ii) fleet maintenance personnel;

(iii) traffic signal maintenance; and

(iv) other emergent issues;

(m) health services such as -

(i) District Medical Health Officers, Medical Social Workers;

(ii) public and private hospitals, laboratories, infirmaries, nursing homes and hospices, funeral homes, crematoria and burial grounds;

(iii) services in support of hospitals, pharmacies; and

(iv) the provision of medical supplies to hospitals and pharmacies including sanitary and hygiene products;

(v) the urgent provison of dental, optometric, opthalmologic, physical therapy, occupational therapy,

 (n) essential janitorial and maintenance services for private condominium or town house residential homes and public and private facilities;

(o) prisons, Rehabilitation Centres, Immigration Detention Centres or other places of detention;

(p) Children’s Homes, places for the care of the differently abled, socially displaced, the elderly and geriatric homes and persons providing care at private residences;

(q) private security firms;

(r) social workers, workers who provide social welfare support and non-governmental organisations that work with the socially disadvantaged and vulnerable;

(s) care givers to the elderly and those that require care for a medical reason;

(t) support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste;

(u) hardware stores including electrical and plumbing establishments;

(v) financial and insurance services such as-

(i) banking business and business of a financial nature, as defined in the Financial Institutions Act and non-banks and the Unit Trust Corporation;

(ii) non-banks and remittance facilities;

(iii) credit unions under the Cooperative Societies Act;

(iv) the processing and maintenance of systems for processing insurance and financial transactions and services (e.g., information technology, payment, clearing, and settlement, wholesale funding, insurance services, capital markets activities);

(v) the provision of consumer access to banking and lending services, including ATMs, and the moving of currency and payments (e.g., armored cash carriers); and

(vi) the provision of support for financial operations, such as services in relation to staffing data, technology and security operations centres;

(w) the services of live-in domestic workers only and service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators;

(x) retail services, such as discount stores, markets, supermarkets, fruit stalls or shops, vegetable stalls or shops, bakeries, pharmacies and “parlours”, for the provision of food, medicine or other necessities of life;

(y) wholesale stores for the provision of food, medicine or other necessities of life;

(z) Ministries and Municipal Corporations;

(aa) the Inland Revenue Division, the Treasury Division, the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago and the Customs and Excise Division;

(ab) manufacture, transportation and logistics services, such as the services of –

(i) employees of firms manufacturing refrigeration systems and products including those providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging, and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use;

(ii) maritime transportation workers, port workers, mariners, equipment operators;

(iii) truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions, and services;

(iv) automotive repair and maintenance facilities only to provide direct support to identified essential services in this subregulation;

(v) manufactures and distributors of food, beverages and pharmaceuticals, including the packaging and bottling of these items;

(vi) postal and shipping workers, including private companies;

(vii) employees who repair and maintain aircraft, marine vessels, and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers;

(viii) air transportation employees, including air traffic controllers, ramp personnel, aviation security, and aviation management;

(ix) workers who support the maintenance and operation of cargo by air transportation, including flight crews, maintenance, airport operations, and other on- and off- airport facilities workers;

(x) workers connected with the loading and unloading and repair of ships and with the storage and delivery of goods at, or from, ports, docks, wharves, storage facilities and warehouses operated in connection with ports, docks or wharves; and

(xi) public transportation by water-taxi, ferry, motor vehicle, bus, including buses operated by the Public Transport Services Corporation;

(ac) the services of workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverage products;

(ad) the services of workers supporting newspapers and media houses;

(ae) services relating to food, beverage and agriculture, fisheries such as-

(i) take-away and delivery food service operations but does not include in-dining facilities; and

(ii) food and beverage manufacturer employees and their suppliers’ employees—

(A) including those employed in food processing facilities;

(B) at livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities at pet and animal feed processing facilities;

(C) at human food facilities producing by-products for animal food and beverage production facilities;

(D) at the production of food packaging;

(E) including farm workers who are employed in animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs, truck delivery and transport, farm and fishery labour needed to produce our food supply domestically;

(F) workers who must look after and feed animals at zoos or animal shelters;

(G) fishermen;

(H) farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops, commodity inspection, storage facilities; and other agricultural inputs;

(I) employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor managed inventory control managers;

(J) workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail;

(K) workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education;

(L) workers essential for assistance programs and government payments, employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the water treatment and sanitizing industry and the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids;

(M) animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health, manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, etc., transportation of live animals, animal medical materials, transportation of deceased animals for disposal, raising of animals for food, animal production operations, slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce;

(N) employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary for food, agricultural production and distribution; and

(O) workers engaged in the manufacture of alcoholic products and non-alcoholic beverages;

(P) workers engaged in the supply of fruit, vegetables, meat and fish to supermarkets, shops, parlours, fruit shops or stalls, vegetable shops or stalls and establishments where prepared food is sold; and

(Q) workers engaged in the supply of marketable commodities to supermarkets, shops, parlours, fruit stalls and shops or stalls and shops and establishment where prepared food is sold.

(af) the services of workers engaged in the production, manufacture and supply of medical supplies and equipment and the servicing and repair of medical equipment;

(ag) the services of workers for wholesale suppliers for groceries, supermarkets, parlours and similar shops;

(ah) energy services including the services of workers in-

(i) the electricity industry such as-

(A) workers who maintain, ensure, or restore the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power, including call centers, utility workers, reliability engineers and fleet maintenance technicians;

(B) workers at generation, transmission, and electric facilities;

(C) IT and OT technology staff for EMS (Energy Management Systems) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, and utility data centres; Cybersecurity engineers; cybersecurity risk management and back-up dtat technology;

(D) vegetation management crews and traffic workers who support; and

(E) environmental remediation/monitoring technicians, instrumentation, protection, and control technicians;

(ii) petroleum industries such as-

(A) petroleum stations and convenience marts attached thereto;

(B) petroleum product storage, pipeline, marine transport, terminals, road transport;

(C) crude oil storage facilities, pipeline, and marine transport;

(D) petroleum refinery facilities;

(E) petroleum security operations centre employees and workers who support emergency response services;

(F) petroleum operations control rooms or centres;

(G) petroleum drilling, extraction, production, processing, refining, terminal operations, transporting, and retail for use as end-use fuels or feedstocks for chemical manufacturing;

(H) companies that provide services to oil and gas services; and

(I) onshore and offshore operations for maintenance and emergency response; and

(iii) the natural gas, propane and petrochemical industries including for -

(A) natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines, including compressor stations;

(B) underground storage of natural gas;

(C) natural gas processing plants, and those that deal with natural gas liquids;

(D) Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities;

(E) natural gas security operations centre, natural gas operations dispatch and control rooms or centres natural gas emergency response and customer emergencies, including natural gas leak calls;

(F) drilling, production, processing, refining, and transporting natural gas for use as end-use fuels, feedstocks for chemical manufacturing, petrochemical products or use in electricity generation;

(G) propane gas dispatch and control rooms and emergency response and customer emergencies, including propane leak calls;

(H) propane gas service maintenance and restoration, including call centres;

(I) processing, refining, and transporting natural liquids, including propane gas, for use as end-use fuels or feedstocks for chemical manufacturing; and

(J) propane gas storage, transmission, and distribution centres;

(ai) critical manufacturing such as the services of workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for medical supply chains, transportation, energy, communications, food, beverage and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, law enforcement and defence services;

(aj) chemical services such as the services of -

(i) workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, including workers at chemical manufacturing plants, workers in laboratories, workers at distribution facilities, workers who transport basic raw chemical materials to the producers of industrial and consumer goods, including hand sanitizers, food, beverage and food and beverage additives, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and paper products;

(ii) workers supporting the safe transportation of chemicals, including those supporting tank truck cleaning facilities and workers who manufacture packaging items;

(iii) workers supporting the production of protective cleaning and medical solutions, personal protective equipment, and packaging that prevents the contamination of food, water, medicine, among others essential products;

(iv) workers supporting the operation and maintenance of facilities, particularly those with high risk chemicals or sites that cannot be shut down, whose work cannot be done remotely and requires the presence of highly trained personnel to ensure safe operations, including plant contract workers who provide inspections; and

(v) workers who support the production and transportation of chlorine and alkali manufacturing, single-use plastics, and packaging that prevents the contamination or supports the continued manufacture of food, water, medicine, and other essential products, including glass container manufacturing;

(ak) hotels, guest houses or econo-lodges;

(al) the seismic research unit of the University of the West Indies;

(am) the services of construction workers and other workers engaged in the construction of health care facilities and construction workers working on the Curepe interchange;

(an) the services of workers who are necessary to keep furnaces and kilns operating safely in manufacturing operations that are not captured as essential operation in this subregulation but who are needed to keep these furnaces and kilns operating for safety reasons; and

(ao) any trade, profession, business or service, activity or public gathering, authorised to be carried on by the Minister.

View the full copy of the Public Health Ordinance here. 

Minister Young explained that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, with the support of the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force, will be responsible for enforcing the stay-at-home order for those not employed within the essential services listed above.

Members of the public are allowed to visit supermarkets, pharmacies and other essential businesses but are urged not to congregate in groups of more than ten people, and in some instances, where more than ten people may be gathered, for example, in a supermarket, to properly socially distance themselves.

The Minister also said exercising outdoors will not be allowed, except within the confines of your own yard or compound. He also indicated that the services of the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) will be suspended during this period. 

He urged compliance with these measures as the authorities attempt to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus disease in the country. 

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