Sunday 7 June, 2020

Markets, supermarkets, restaurants step up virus prevention measures

Photo: Supermarkets and other businesses have taken extra health and safety measures to prevent the spread of germs. Photo courtesy Price Club Supermarket/Facebook.

Photo: Supermarkets and other businesses have taken extra health and safety measures to prevent the spread of germs. Photo courtesy Price Club Supermarket/Facebook.

Major businesses are stepping up health and safety measures following the first confirmed case of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The measures were taken following the Health Ministry's confirmation of one case of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) on Thursday during a media briefing. 

Here are updates from several companies:

Massy Stores

Massy Stores said in a statement that the company is following all health and safety protocols as advised by the Health Ministry.

"In light of the announcement made yesterday (Thursday, March 12, 2019) by the Ministry of Health confirming the first case of Covid-19 in Trinidad and Tobago, we wish to advise that Massy Stores Trinidad has taken some decisive steps."

"Safety is our top priority for customers and employees. We have increased our in-store hygiene protocols to maintain a clean and healthy environment in all stores."

The company said although its stores are cleaned daily it has also increased the frequency of cleaning rotations, including sanitising of high-touch, high-traffic areas. 

The supermarket chain said employees are dedicated to cleaning key areas throughout the day, including registers and trolleys. 

"We are dedicated to keeping stores stocked and are working hard to replenish cleaning supplies, paper products, canned foods and other in-demand items as quickly as possible. We have confidence in our supply chain to support the increased demand."

"We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our valued customers and we are doing everything we can to provide a safe shopping experience for all and a healthy environment for our employees," the company said. 

Radisson Hotel Trinidad

Ashram Ramnarine, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Issa Nicholas Group assured the public that the Radisson Hotel Trinidad is taking all necessary steps to keep its guests and loyal customers safe.

“We have always maintained the highest standards of cleanliness and safety, and we will continue to do so with ever greater emphasis in the current environment. We have implemented several new policies and procedures which follow strictly the recommendations of the WHO and the Ministry of Health, and we are working closely with all the respective support agencies.

"At present there are comprehensive screening procedures upon entry into Trinidad and Tobago, and authorities are set up to attend to any possible signs of the virus which will allow early detection. There are also travel bans placed on certain countries and 14 day periods quarantine periods for returning nationals. This all augers well for any negative occurrence.”

“We are continually educating ourselves and ensuring that all of our employees are focused on our sanitization and safety procedures in the front and back-of-the-house areas of the hotel. The areas of high traffic are being sanitized and maintained at frequent intervals.”

A number of preventative measures have been implemented at the Radisson, including keeping employees with flu-like symptoms at home, medical programs for staff and emergency care protocols for guests if they show flu-like symptoms. 

The company said regular hand-washing and sanitisation of work spaces is also in place. 

"Radisson Hotel Trinidad looks forward to continuing to be of service to its guests as the world strives together to overcome this challenge."

Prestige Holdings Limited

Prestige Holdings Limited, franchise holder for KFC, TGI Fridays, Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Subway, said all of its locations are adhering to health and safety standards. 

The company said: "Prestige Holdings Limited (PHL) continues to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and we are doing our part to protect the health and safety of our staff and customers."

"We have increased the thorough sanitization of all touch areas in our restaurants to every half an hour and will increase this frequency should store traffic require it."

"In the interest of your own safety, we also advise everyone to take the preventative and precautionary measures recommended by the Ministry of Health as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO)."

"These include regular hand washing and avoiding the touching of your face. The health and safety of T&T is a top priority. Let’s work together to keep each other safe."


Meanwhile, NAMDEVCO announced that all markets are ensuring all virus prevention measures are being followed. 

The company said specific measures have been heightened to deal with risks associated with COVID-19.

The company has implemented the following measures:

  1. Space allocations at all Farmers’ Markets are being expanded and in particular areas for customers to walk and make their purchases are being widened. This would reduce the risk of crowding and human contact among customers and vendors;
  2. Similarly, spacing and walking areas at the Farmers’ Wholesale Markets are being expanded as far as practicable to minimize human contact and to avoid crowding;
  3. All vendors have been advised of the basic Public Health measures that have to be adhered to given the COVID-19 risks;
  4. NAMDEVCO employees as well as Public Health officers, from the Ministry of Health would be monitoring all our facilities for adherence to these basic measures;
  5. While COVID-19 is not known to be a food borne illness, NAMDEVCO is emphasizing that usual good practices regarding the handling of produce throughout the food chain, are essential for public health and the Corporation is taking all measures for the prevention and control of any infectious diseases;
  6. Farmers are being advised that produce that is usually consumed without cooking must be bagged before being offered for sale. This includes items normally eaten raw like lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and all fruits, whether or not the skins are consumed.
  7. Vendors are required to wear masks, gloves and eyewear while handling foodstuff;
  8. Customers are encouraged through appropriately placed signage, to use hand sanitizer that is being made available at all facilities where sale of produce and other food products are conducted;
  9. Consumers are being advised to properly wash all fruits and vegetables before consumption. We cannot overemphasize the importance of proper handwashing before, after and during food preparation activities in the home and workplace.

"Alongside these measures, NAMDEVCO is in contact with its stakeholders particularly farmers. Based on NAMDEVCO’s Farm Certification and Monitoring data, approximately 1600 farms are currently in active production and a list of current food supplies based on the major food groups has been collected. Details of agricultural produce which cannot be exported are also being collected by the Corporation, so that proper marketing programmes can be set up in the domestic market."

"While COVID-19 has affected the agricultural sector in some parts of the world, it also represents an opportunity to change production and business methods to adapt to new challenges and difficulties. Persons who are handling food and produce at non-NAMDEVCO markets are also being advised to make every attempt to wash their hands with soap and water every hour.

"Along with the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, the Corporation will be deploying its’ trained field officers to support the ongoing investigations and agriculture-based livelihood assessments, in its efforts to inform further response to alleviate the risks of COVID-19. We invite you to contact us through Facebook, via email and phone for any further information." 

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