Tuesday 7 July, 2020

Health Minister singles out taxi, maxi drivers not wearing face masks

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh singled out taxi and maxi-taxi drivers who refuse to wear face masks, saying they pose a danger to themselves, their passengers and their families by encouraging the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking at Monday's media briefing on the country's virus response, Deyalsingh said over the weekend he drove through several areas including the taxi stand near the Croisee in San Juan and said all of the taxi drivers he saw were not wearing masks. 

“On my way to work I always slow down near the Croisee, I slowed down and I looked. Not one taxi driver on that taxi stand had a mask on."

“And they are under threat because they don’t know who they are transporting, where they came from, they are making these trips up and down."

“Taxi drivers, maxi-taxi drivers, you need to wear a mask to protect yourself because if an infected passenger comes to you, you (can) take the virus home to your family."

“Wearing a mask is something that all persons, once you are out in public, should wear and some categories are more at risk. Public transport is one."

He said PTSC as a state agency has a policy in place but perhaps a meeting is necessary with maxi-taxi associations to discuss health and safety measures for drivers.

He urged taxi drivers and maxi-taxi drivers to be responsible, wear face masks and sanitise their vehicles. 

He added that he stopped at the Brian Lara Promenade in Port of Spain and spoke to about 20 people who were not wearing face masks.

“Yesterday, Sunday morning, I had a meeting in Port of Spain so I left home early and I passed through the Croisee which would be my constituency and I passed through Independence Square, and I spoke to lots of people on Brian Lara Promenade, about 20 people. Of those 20 people, if two people had on masks that was a lot.”

“When I approached them, I said, I’m coming to find out what are your thoughts on wearing masks and why you’re not wearing it, Everybody went into their pockets and pulled out a mask.”

“Having a mask in your pocket doesn’t protect you. This mask-wearing is not meant to be punitive, it is meant to be protective.”

The wearing of face masks is not enforceable by law, however, establishments are encouraged to utilise the 'no mask, no service' policy.

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