While Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced on Saturday (May 9) that adjustments will be made to the COVID-19 Public Health Ordinance Regulations on a phased basis, effective today, Monday 11 to May 23, with the reopening of all food establishments and restaurants (no in-house dining allowed), 81 per cent of citizens say they are not ready to return to their lives before the COVID-19 restrictions, according to a poll conducted by CatholicTT on Facebook.
The poll garnered 562 votes.
Janet Annisette, a senior citizen with preexisting health issues commented via the ‘Archdiocese of Port of Spain’ Facebook poll that she is not ready to “sandwich” in a pew as she is “susceptible” to colds/flu infection “very easily.”
She said, “I’ll be praying at home for some time, the most I can go to is Adoration because there’s always less people at one time. So I will still be with Jesus. I think churches should remain closed until people are confident and the threat level is NIL.”
Meanwhile Angelina Senior stated “I am not sure how I feel, I feel yes I want the new normal but yet I feel numb and scared, when I need to go to the grocery I have to condition my mind and myself, sometimes my anxiety comes on but I know life has to get back to some sort of normal. I also need to find a job. There is a sense of longing to want to be out but scared…” she said.
Mark J H Franco briefly asserted that we cannot return to “normal life” as per pre-COVID-19. He however shared it may be possible some time in the near term but we have to continue vigilance and temperance, with flexibility being “foremost”.
On a World Health Organization list, Trinidad and Tobago ranked second, just after Vietnam in terms of readiness to roll back the lockdown. The only other Caribbean nation in the top 10 is Barbados.
As of May 1, Trinidad and Tobago has been listed number one on the list, sharing the lead with Croatia, Hong Kong and Iceland.
CatholicTT also sought out responses on Twitter via their @CatholicNewsTT handle and Instagram via @catholictt. Twitter results showed 61% said no while 39% say they are ready to return to life pre-COVID-19. Forty-per cent of Instagrammers voted yes while 60% voted no.
Speaking at the press briefing on Saturday, Dr Rowley said each phase will be determined by the results from the COVID-19 Community testing and monitoring done by the Ministry of Health.
If COVID-19 numbers remain low, he said, Phase Two can commence May 24 to June 6. This entails the reopening of the country’s manufacturing sector, public sector construction and consideration for 50 per cent capacity in public transportation.
Phase 3 which is anticipated June 7 to June 20 allows for the public service to return to work with elements of flextime where possible. All private sector construction will be expected to recommence and consideration will be made for public transportation to resume to 75 per cent.
Dr Rowley outlined Phase 4: the reopening of malls and beaches; Phase 5: the reopening of cinemas; and Phase 6: the reopening of the country’s borders.
By Kaelanne Jordan