Anna Lisa Paul, Trinidad & Tobago Guardian
Almost 20 hours after Trinidad and Tobago was placed under a State of Emergency (SoE) as of midnight from May 15—the authorities spent considerable time yesterday, drafting the new regulations which now includes a ban on the consumption of alcohol in public places; immediate cessation of all outdoor exercise and sports.
And in order to avoid any ambiguity or grey areas, the Emergency Powers Regulations contained in Legal Notice 142 of 2021 clearly spells out what can and cannot be done during the hours of 5.01 am and 8.59 pm daily.
Issued around 7 pm yesterday, the extensive list also effectively banned the sale of food or drink by street vendors; and visits to all mud volcanoes and or mud pools for recreational purposes.
With regards to outdoor activities, the regulations specify there will be no team sports, contact sports, outdoor sports or exercising in public.
It also puts an end to running, hiking, cycling, golf and even hockey to name a few.
Only on Sunday, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service warned against large gatherings after a video circulated purportedly showing crowds in Chaguaramas.
The regulations also effectively reinforced the closure of pre-schools; day-cares; water parks; amusement centres; bars; restaurants; casinos; clubs; party boats; spas; barbers; hairdressers; and the closure of all sporting clubs which encourages both individual and team participation.
It also clearly indicated the personnel that are considered essential workers including those from the Judiciary; the health sector; law enforcement agencies; media; utility agencies; telecommunications; emergency janitorial and maintenance services; private security; banking sector; sanitation agencies; manufacturing; transportation; and logistics.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced a State of Emergency as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country rises along with the number of deaths.
As of yesterday, there were 285 deaths recorded, just fifteen shy of the 300 mark.
May has been the deadliest month of the pandemic in the country and also saw the most cases recorded, with the month not over yet.
The rise in daily cases has also put a strain on the parallel healthcare system, as health officials have been working around the clock to stave off its collapse by increasing bed space at several hospitals around the country.
During the news conference on Saturday, the Prime Minister said the SoE, which includes the curfew from 9 pm to 5 am, was meant to keep people indoors and limit people from congregating, preventing any opportunity for the virus to spread.
The Prime Minister did not give a date as to when the SoE would be lifted and said its existence hinged on cases declining and adherence to the regulations.
Featured Photo: Courtesy Kerwin Pierre