RELIEF at finally being able to reopen turned into exasperation at several retail outlets in Port of Spain on Monday, as businessmen reported having a real struggle to ensure customers adhered to basic anti-covid19 rules.
Customers flocked to stores and malls early Monday morning after the Prime Minister announced on Saturday the reopening of retail businesses as part of a controlled, gradual resumption of normal activities for the country which was shut down for over a month because of the covid19 pandemic.
Businesses were allowed to reopen on Monday with the understanding that certain anti-covid19 measures would be implemented to try and minimise any spread of the virus which is still running rampant in many countries across the world.
These rules, such as sanitising customers’ hands as they enter a businessplace and ensuring physical distancing inside shops – even if it means keeping some customers in a line outside until those inside finish their shopping and leave – are part of the Health Ministry’s “New Normal” campaign in order to strike a balance between resuming normal activities and ensuring the virus does not spread.
When Newsday checked on businesses along several streets in the capital, including Frederick Street, Queen Street and Duke Street, many pedestrians were seen walking without their face masks on. Others wore the masks but it was pushed down below their chins.
While very happy for the enthusiastic response, businessmen said they and their staffers faced a torrid time trying to get customers to comply with personal anti-covid19 rules.