Okay T&T, so you were warned! In the last installment of Bar Business TT there was a feature on Enduring the Impending Restaurant Holocaust in Trinidad and Tobago, however, the Covid-19 pandemic is not exactly what we had in mind when releasing the article dated in December 2019.  If your establishment had already or recently implemented a special menu for takeaway and delivery, curbside/pickup and online orders, you surely have a better chance to be one who will survive this very difficult time.

While some employees have made it clear that they would be happy to stay away from work and still be paid, many business owners, especially the restaurants and bars have been forced to shut their doors, being restricted to only delivery service and take away until April 20th, 2020. In addition to high duties on goods and the recent increase on shipping charges, despite the rise of low employee turnout and borders being closed which would inevitably affect shipments and the clearance of goods, it is expected that these owners are to maintain the salaries of their staff.

 On Monday 16th March 2020 Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants, & Tourism Association (THRTA) posted a survey to the attention of all bar and restaurant owners, for urgent feedback on the negative impacts on the hospitality and tourism industry, due to the shut-down of establishments amidst the development of five confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus at that time, here in Trinidad and Tobago.

The number of confirmed cases now stands at nine, one week after an official announcement of the first confirmed case in T&T. What will develop as the days and weeks go by? It’s left to be seen. Driving through St. James, the city that never sleeps, for the first time we are witnessing a shut down like no other. Prior to the state of emergency, nine years ago due to the outrageous level of crime, the last time bars would have been faced with this kind of shut-down ordeal was during the attempted coup in 1990. There’s one thing I hope we could agree on, and that’s the great resilience of Trinbagonians. However as a nation, in such adverse conditions do we really have what it takes to withstand this blow to our economy?

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