Getting back to Business 0 809

Chances are you may be as excited as we are at Bar Business TT, to return to some semblance of life “in the normal”. There is no denying that some crucial sectors which employ well over 120,000 persons with a 30% revenue earning capacity and also accounts for many downstream businesses, most seriously impacted by the pandemic. Subsequent protocols, proliferated by the National State of Emergency restrictions, wreaked havoc on these key revenue generating sectors. In an island usually rife with the buzz of nightlife, we seemed to have stopped in our tracks, almost in a state of suspended animation, if not, near annihilation of some retail and commercial ventures altogether. The gyms, bars, restaurants, hotels, casinos and cinemas, will now be faced by the new guidelines and restrictions of vaccination “safe zones” and ensuring that their operational guidelines are in keeping with the Ministry of Health mandates. The sectors are due to meet to discuss further feasible and functional ways to go forward towards greater inclusivity and involvement of the relevant and affected entities. The larger populace- the consumer, being at the centre of such deliberations. Let’s face it without US – the consumer, there will be little for business to “grow after”. In the interest of our valued BBTT readers we spoke with the Chairman of the Trinidad & Tobago Beverage Alcohol Alliance (TTBAA) Dr Patrick Antoine. The TTBAA has been working proactively to ensure that there is a degree of readiness for their members as the industry prepares for a seamless reintegration into business. After the severe albeit perhaps necessary lock downs we are faced with rethinking and reinventing new ways to do customary things- living parallel with a pandemic. We can do this…

The TTBAA was established in 2009 answering to the P.O.S. declaration signed by former Prime Minister Manning (2007), indicating that Non Communicable Diseases NCDs were the cause of the highest mortality rates in T&T including, diabetes, heart and kidney disease. We have misused a number of products which have impacted quality of life. The pandemic further spotlighted, just how much lifestyle diseases with comorbidities affected the ability of individuals to cope with the intense symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. The general relationship between choice and change was also a feature of this unique period in our global history. The TTBAA has also played an integral role in the decision to establish the Global Alcohol Strategy (2010) with a view to building a solid action plan for the region to manage and support the Alcohol & Beverage industry. In 2009 a Code of Conduct was formulated to this end, to serve as a benchmark for key stakeholders. The code covers such important facets as advertising, promotions & sales to minors, drinking and driving, socioeconomic and psychological effects of consumption, alcohol in pregnancy, performance and lifestyle, the entertainment and events promotions sectors.

The TTBAA continues to forge collaborative and strategic alliances with its global partners, the Ministry of Transport, The Ministry of Health and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) like Arrive Alive, the Maxi taxis Association, the Supermarkets Association and its memberships, to promote responsible consumption, including the withdrawal of offensive messaging and advertising deemed to encourage irresponsible behaviour, which ultimately, jeopardizes quality of life and health.

The TTBAA intends to reinstate its Education & Awareness campaigns to embrace the new environment and living parallel with a pandemic while upholding the Code of Ethics which encourages responsible and healthy lifestyles. In addition to quality of life issues the organization’s “Reinvent You” is specifically geared to support the Food & Beverage industry to progress through the challenging, turbulent times. According to Dr Antoine “We look to the re-opening with optimism and stand with readiness to respond to our members’ needs in the interest of normality and continuity”. This continuity depends on elevated levels of vigilance and responsibility as businesses reopen their doors, which includes sustained protocols of sanitization, hand washing, mask wearing and acceptable social distancing. To further enhance levels of safety for all citizens the Honorable Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, has intimated the a “Proof of Vaccination” QR code will be assigned to those citizens who have received full dosage of the vaccines made available by the GORTT since April 2021.It is envisaged the a “Proof of vaccination” status will be a mandatory requirement for access to restaurants, gyms, cinemas and bar facilities (a note of contention for some). 

To this end, the TTBAA will roll out the ‘Reinvent You’ and ‘Ready for You ‘Public Awareness campaigns. At the core the TTBAA sees it as learning to live with the virus through vigilance. The two-fold nature of the initiative advocates for online training in customer support for trade owners, operators and their staff dealing with the public. Operators will be awarded a Certificate acknowledging that they have successfully completed the necessary Best Practices and Capacity Building Workshops. A briefing session was held for key operators on June 12. Branded Ready for You stickers will be given to successful participants of the training to be displayed on their storefronts. The program of Education & Awareness covers Food safety; Cleaning and Sanitization; Employee Health Monitoring; Physical Distancing; Personal Hygiene and Proper PPE. The concept embraces recognizing and accrediting those establishments who are willing and ready to go the extra mile to secure the safety and comfort of their patrons. These businesses will be tested, credible and focused on meeting and surpassing the required safety protocols and focus of this challenging period in our global history. The TTBAA has been proactive in supporting the protocols with a view to readiness and reintegration of businesses and citizens in the “new normal” Interested establishments in the food, beverage and hospitality sectors may call the TTBAA Hotline at 277-SERV (7378) for further information on training and safety accreditation.

We may view some of the requirements around the Covid-19 mitigation process as austere or severe however in the creation of a safety conscious commercial environment such measures when effectively and seamlessly implemented will assist in a degree of prevention of the spread of the virus and also serve to encourage mobility with elevated awareness among the populace. We must get back to life and how we do this, inevitably is a personal choice. At Bar Business TT we support the reopening of the sectors carded for October 11th long awaited and endured. How we engage from here on will be integral to the positive effects and outcomes of business in the new usual. Let us approach this “roll out” with sustained vigilance, respect for others, up keeping the MOH protocols both at home and in public spaces, conscious planning and sensitivity to the nature of the pandemic which has largely been steeped with uncertainty. We look to the future of business by raising the bar on service, quality and implementation of the guidelines which will steer the sectors to continued vibrancy and success. Navigate with awareness and optimism.

Vaccinate, wear your mask when in public spaces, wash hands and sanitize, keep the socially accepted distance, move with due diligence, choose your safe spaces, exercise, boost your immunity with a quality diet. Hydrate responsibly. Let’s get back to life.

STAY IN TOUCH with Bar Business TT for updates and guidelines as we REOPEN for Business.

By Catherine Da Silva

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