As Tobago hotel closes, George says clear vaccination policy needed
As Tobago’s economy continues to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin George, Chairman of the Tobago Business Chamber, believes that Government should look to vaccination as the key to recovery.
In fact, he’s of the view a stronger approach, one rooted in legislation, is necessary to help the economy rebound and return to Tobago to some semblance of normalcy.
George was commenting on the temporary closure of award-winning Tobago resort Coco Reef Resort and Spa, which today announced that it couldn’t continue to operate amidst continued uncertainty.
Owner John Jefferis said the resort’s reopening will be announced in due course, when travel resumes, vaccination numbers increase and hospitality protocols are implemented.
While the country’s borders have been reopened, curfews continue to be in effect, beaches remain closed and the tourism sector is still subject to restrictions.
The Tobago Chamber Chairman told Loop News the prolonged public health restrictions have deeply affected Tobago’s economy
“I would say that it is clear that these continued closures and reductions and scaling-back of business would obviously have a tremendous impact on the economy, particularly in Tobago, which has a small economy.
It’s a small emerging economy, it’s very fragile and subject to so many forces external to it and over which it has no control.”
He said the Tobago Chamber stands behinds Government’s “vaccinate to operate” call, but is calling on the administration to bring legislation to make this possible.
“That is why we have said we must vaccinate to operate – we agree with the Government there – and we are also calling upon the Government to legislate in order to vaccinate,” George said.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley previously indicated that vaccination will remain voluntary in Trinidad and Tobago but that could change, if required.
He said at the time: “As long as the circumstances can be managed with a voluntary programme, then I see the government allowing a voluntary programme to proceed, but if the situation changes and another kind of decision is required, then that is what governments are for.”
Tobago’s vaccination drive continues with 14,784 patients administered their first dose of a two-dose vaccine schedule, while 10,017 have received both doses.
By: Darlisa Ghouralal