A number of bars and entertainment on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD), Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) have been suspended for one month by the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) after they were found in breach of the COVID-19 guidelines meant to keep people safe.
Those bars and entertainment spots in Region Three that have been suspended include: the Hashtag bar, the Bald Head rum shop, the Castle Royal hotel and apartment, the Tropical Paradise resort, the Secret club, the Infinity sports bar, Lance bar, Dada’s grill and bar, and the Shell Bee and Xs bar.
These establishments were all notified by the NCTF Secretariat on Friday that they would be suspended until June 28, 2021. The News Room understands that their suspensions came after a police patrol conducted found that the bars were operating beyond curfew hours.
Some bars were also found operating without adhering to the social distancing guidelines and there were loose adherence to the mask-wearing mandate.
As per the gazetted COVID-19 Emergency Measures, bars, casinos and similar entertainment spots are permitted to operate but only at 40 percent capacity.
The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) is tasked with certifying businesses once they have shown that they are able to adhere to the spacing and occupation limit.
Importantly, these businesses are expected to be closed by 21:30 hrs each night, though the national curfew begins from 22:30 hrs and lasts until 04:00 hrs. These establishments are expected to close at this time to allow people to travel home before the curfew takes effect.
Though these nine bars have been suspended by the NCTF, one proprietor, who wished to remain anonymous, told the News Room that there are other bars and entertainment spots on the ‘West Side’ that are operating in breach of the guidelines, but have not been shut down.
This, the proprietor said, was unfair since “what goes for one, has to go for all.”
Now that the proprietor’s establishment has been suspended for one month, it was noted that the 15 members of staff who are employed would have to be furloughed (placed on temporary leave) until the bar can resume operations. This is because there would be no income generation for the period.
The proprietor also lamented that the business mortgage has to be paid.
“We try to keep up with the 9:30 (curfew) but sometimes people are stubborn,” the proprietor explained, stating that there was no leniency in the suspension of this establishment.
The proprietor also highlighted that written warnings were not issued before the business was suspended for the month.
According to the letter that was issued to this establishment by the NCTF Secretariat, the establishment was warned previously and that the continuous breach of the guidelines reflects a “contempt for the Laws of Guyana” and as such, has resulted in “the application of sanctions”.
Next month, when all of the businesses are permitted to resume operations, the GTA will, once again, be tasked with inspecting the premises and approve the reopening.