Minister calls on markets, abattoirs to enforce safety measures
Photo: NAMDEVCO farmers' market in Couva has implemented safety measures including sanitisation, handwashing sinks and distancing of stalls. Photo courtesy NAMDEVCO/Facebook.
Markets and abattoirs are being called on to enforce distancing and sanitising measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a statement, the Minister of Rural Development and Local Government, Kazim Hosein, said in a statement issued Tuesday that the public and vendors are to be cautious and adhere to Government’s guidelines when conducting business at the markets and abattoirs.
Hosein said he recognises the essential role that markets and abattoirs play in providing citizens with fresh produce: “Markets provide an essential service and we applaud the efforts of both the vendors and the Municipal Corporations to ensure that these amenities remain accessible to members of the public during this crisis."
(Photo: Couva market with handwashing facilities.Photo via NAMDEVCO.)
"However, because these facilities are crucial, they must be preserved - we as citizens must be vigilant and follow the law as it relates to proper hygiene and sanitation particularly in light of the present public health challenge.”
Hosein encouraged members of the public to comply with the measures implemented by the 14 Municipal Corporations at their respective markets and abattoirs to ensure that safety and hygiene protocols are maintained.
The statement said throughout municipalities, additional complements of Municipal Police Officers have been deployed to assist in crowd control and adherence to recent public health ordinances.
(Photo: Market being sanitised before opening. Photo via NAMDEVCO.)
"All Municipal Corporations have scheduled more frequent police patrols and have enforced stern requirements for entry into markets and abattoirs. Increased sanitation measures have also been implemented to ensure regular sanitization of public spaces and social distancing."
Hosein reminded citizens and vendors alike that the laws of the land must be obeyed in order to protect ourselves and our families. They are asked to exercise calm, be patient, practice social distancing by standing in queue and follow the directives of the Municipal Police Officers.
Persons are advised to follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and;
- Stay 2 metres (6 feet away) from persons at all times
- Wash your hands with soap immediately upon returning home and change into clean clothing
- Purchase required items quickly and exit the premises as loitering will not be tolerated
The statement said food handlers must, as always, wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, before and after handling food and money and after being in a public place.
The Ministry said any food handler who is unwell is strongly advised to stay at home and contact the relevant authorities.
The Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government said food security remains a top priority of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and, as such, every effort will be made to keep each market and abattoir open to the public during the Government’s “stay at home” initiative.
Minister Hosein reiterates the need for us to be our brother’s keeper saying, “We are all in this together and if we work together, we will overcome this challenge. Be your neighbour’s keeper and encourage them not to leave their homes unless it’s absolutely necessary.”