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COVID-19: Regulation No. 13 brings ease of restrictions

On the 10th May, 2020, the Public Health [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)] (No. 12) Regulations 2020 were revoked and replaced by the Public Health [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)] (No. 13) Regulations 2020 (‘Regulation No. 13’). Regulation No. 13 updates the measures and restrictions imposed by the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

These Regulations have effect from 11th May 2020 to 24th May 2020 and are part of the following six phase plan announced by the government for the ease and eventual lifting of Covid-19 related restrictions:

      1. Phase 1 (10th May – 23rd May): the reopening of food establishments and the recommencing of street vending with restrictions against seated dining and on-site consumption; an extension of the permitted opening hours for hardwares; approval given to certain manufacturers to recommence operations; a change in government policy to no longer dissuade outdoor exercise (contact sport is discouraged and gatherings of more than five remain prohibited);
      2. Phase 2 (24th May 2020 – 6th June): the reopening of the entire manufacturing sector; the resumption of all public sector construction;
      3. Phase 3 (7th June 2020 – 20th June): the resumption of operations by the entire public service; consideration will be given to increasing the permitted capacity of public transport to 75%;
      4. Phase 4: the reopening of malls and beaches;
      5. Phase 5: the reopening of cinemas; and
      6. Phase 6: the reopening of the borders (outbound travelers may be permitted to leave on a phased basis before this phase is fully implemented).

The government indicated that if there is no spike in the country’s Covid-19 rate of infection, consideration will be given to bringing forward the commencement dates of the respective phases. It follows that if a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases occurs following the introduction of any phase, the restrictions may be reintroduced and/or other arrangements would have to be made as necessary.

In keeping with the above phases, the changes to the local framework by Regulation No. 13 are:

      1. Outdoor and other sporting activities in any public place are permitted provided that no more than five (5) persons may partake;
      2. Services and workers engaged in construction related to agriculture and food production are now included among the essential services;
      3. The permitted opening hours for hardware stores have been extended and are now 8 am to 4 pm every day; and
      4. Street vending, retail food services, delivery and take away food services are now permitted to be open to the public until 8 pm every day. Seated dining at a restaurant and the onsite consumption of any food or beverage provided by a street vendor are prohibited.

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