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Wednesday 5 August, 2020

Bar owners protest reduced hours; prepared to head to courts

Members of the Barkeepers and Operators Association (BOATT) staged a protest near the Prime Minister's Office at Whitehall, Port-of-Spain on June 9.

Members of the Barkeepers and Operators Association (BOATT) staged a protest near the Prime Minister's Office at Whitehall, Port-of-Spain on June 9.

Bar owners claim they are suffering huge losses as a result of Government's decision to reduce their operating hours.

Members of the Barkeepers and Operators Association (BOATT) staged a protest near the Prime Minister's Office at Whitehall, Port-of-Spain on Thursday.

On June 29, National Security Minister Stuart Young announced a reduction in the operating hours of bars from 8 am-10 pm to 8 am-8 pm, just one week after reopening.

It followed reports of non-compliance of the COVID-19 regulations by some bars.

The Association has also threatened legal action against the state.

It has issued a pre-action protocol letter to Attorney General Faris Al Rawi seeking a return to regular operating hours for all bars.

Speaking during the protest, BOATT President Teron Mohan said there has been no consultation with bar owners on the matter.

He said the Association has written numerous letters to the Prime Minister, Minister of Health, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Trade.

However, Mohan said there has been no feedback to date.

He said the bar owners have therefore initiated legal action against the state.

This, as he claimed that the industry is suffering significant losses on a daily basis due to the change in operating hours.

"Some people (are) not even making enough money to cover the day's operations; I would say anywhere from as much as 50 to 75 percent losses on a daily basis."

Mohan added if the Association does not receive a response from the Attorney General by Thursday (today), the matter will then head to the courts.

"The next step will be our day in court."

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