Public health regulations will soon require all food vendors to wear masks.
This according to Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh who indicated via a virtual media conference on Tuesday that additions to existing regulations were to be expected.
According to Deyalsingh, he was accompanied by public health officials on Monday in a visit to Independence Square following the easing of food vending restrictions. As food services reopened, he noted that not all businesses were adhering to protocols intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“I made a very impromptu visit to Independence Square after the press conference yesterday. I started walking from west to east Independence Square. And I saw the excellent, the so-so and the ugly. One establishment had everything that you could ask for and you walked down a few yards and they had nothing,” he said.
Presently, he said, there is no legislation to require vendors to wear masks.
He added that the wearing of masks by vendors was a public health recommendation and one that was necessary.
“As we stand right now there is no law which carries a penalty or sanction for not wearing a mask. What we have done so far is use moral suasion and we are particularly targeting food sellers, that their employees should be wearing masks. It is not a law but it is a public health recommendation. Some food sellers have adopted this across the board and I want to congratulate them, while some haven’t. Some food sellers are also insisting that anybody coming to purchase food must wear a mask. I highly recommend that,” he said.
Following Deyalsingh’s observations, he said that new requirements would be drafted and sent to the Attorney General to be included in the public health regulations. These requirements he said, would guide food establishments on protocols such as mask wearing.
“What we did yesterday because the Chief Medical Officer and public health inspectors accompanied me on that little 45 minute walk from Independence square to Charlotte Street, we are now going to come up with some minimal requirements which will go to the Attorney General with to put into the regulations as to how persons who operate food establishments should protect not only themselves but their customers. Right now, it is due to moral suasion and not the force of law,” he said.
He ended his daily update on COVID-19 in Trinidad by quoting a post on social media which urged for common sense in observing public health measures. “This is a Facebook post. Why does the Government always have to enforce and legislate everything? Can’t we allow common sense to prevail, masks, distance, sanitize. I couldn’t have said it better myself,” he said.