The owner of one of the businesses closed by the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit on Sunday night wants Government to make its protocols clear.
Contending that one set of rules was being advertised and another set enforced, the owner also claimed that the unit was treating businesses like criminals.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, the owner who asked to remain anonymous for fear of being victimized, maintained the business had been following the protocols as outlined by Government on the Barbados Government Information Service’s (BGIS) website.
The owner complained that while the business had been adhering to those protocols, the Monitoring Unit was insisting that another set of protocols be followed.
The owner alleged that even though they were in the process of closing for the night, the unit maintained that the business was breaking protocols because the bartender on duty was not wearing both a face shield and a mask.
However, the owner said the GIS website did not state this.
“We have been working with them from since day one and up until now the protocols that they are imposing are misleading to the public, misleading to establishments and unfortunately establishments are paying the price.
“The protocols that they have up on GIS say that bartenders have to either wear a shield or the bar must be surrounded by flexi glass. Also, when the protocols came out it had nothing stating that no chairs were allowed around the bar, but they [unit] came back to us and said the protocol changed,” the disgruntled owner said.
“When they say the protocol changed this is word of mouth, this is not a written notice they are giving to people. This is word of mouth from whoever comes to you at that point of time. There is nothing in writing, so how they can come down on people like this when the GIS protocols state different to what they are saying.”
The owner said the Monitoring Unit had visited the business on occasions prior to Sunday night.
On those occasions they were told to remove the chairs from around the bar and also warned about customers not wearing masks when walking around or approaching the bar to buy drinks.
The owner suggested that members of the public be made aware of the protocols as well, noting that it would be easier to apply them if that was done.
The source said some customers were not willing to adhere to some of the protocols such as having their temperatures taken and providing their names and contact numbers.
“We have implemented those protocols but the problem is that it is a huge issue because people are rebelling against those protocols. We are not the police and they are basically asking us to do their job,” the owner said.
The owner compared the approach of the Monitoring Unit on Sunday night to a police drug raid.
They said the unit’s actions had scared off some of their customers and some left without even paying their bills.
“They came to us like if they did a drug bust. What do you think happened? Whatever customers we had left there, when they saw the four or five cars of police coming as if they are raiding the place, because that’s exactly how they are perceived, everybody took off and we have a bunch of people who left and didn’t even pay their bills,” the owner said.
“And all of this confusion to tell us that barmen must wear a shield and a mask…They are making us look like criminals, the way they are approaching us.”
The owner made it clear that none of the businesses had been shut down permanently and the majority re-opened the following day. randyb[email protected]