T&T Chamber: Make wearing of masks mandatory
The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce has expressed concern over the number of new COVID-19 cases, and has issued a call for the wearing of masks in public spaces to be mandatory.
In statement on Tuesday, it said the re-emergence, especially as a number of cases are of unknown origin, must be of major concern to every citizen.
The Chamber said there is an increased need to control the spread of the virus, in the best interest of citizens and for the country's long-term economic wellbeing.
It said it is clear that some of the health guidelines were not followed, such as not going out in public if ill.
"We have been consistently reminded by the Minister of Health and health sector officials that by simply following the guidelines such as wearing masks, washing hands frequently, staying home if you are sick, going to be tested if you have symptoms and limiting physical contact, the spread of the virus could be significantly curtailed. It is a message that we can no longer ignore."
The T&T Chamber has therefore called for the wearing of masks to be made mandatory.
It said this will follow the example of several countries which have been showing some success in containing the spread, for example, Vietnam, France and Japan.
The Chamber said a recent study by Cambridge University concluded that universal usage of face masks in public spaces might significantly reduce spread.
"It is our view that we all have the responsibility of curtailing the spread. We further believe that the wearing of masks in all public spaces should be made mandatory. Given that we are faced with a public health emergency, if this policy can be made law by an Order, with a penalty of non compliance, the Chamber support its immediate implementation."
The business group added that businesses too, should where possible keep a detailed log of persons entering and leaving their buildings, inclusive of names, addresses and contact information should there be a need for contact tracing.
It noted that many businesses have largely taken the initiative with a “no mask, no service” rule and hand washing/sanitisation before entry.
The Chamber said all businesses should enforce these policies.
Consumers, it said, must adhere to the safety and sanitation protocols required by businesses and likewise if they are not being enforced, have the choice to shop where they feel safer.