Fri | Jun 5, 2020

Most community bars breach law – McKenzie

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2020 | 12:05 AMRasbert Turner/Gleaner Writer

Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie said that only 30 per cent of Jamaica’s 11,013 community bars are properly licensed to operate.

He warned that during the two-week trial reopening, the first relaxation of restrictions since the COVID-19 pandemic, all saloons are expected to operate at a standard prescribed by the ministry, stressing that bathroom and sanitary conditions must be up to par.

Meanwhile, bar operators in St Catherine have expressed mixed views to the trial reopening. In Portmore on Tuesday, most bars were empty or attending to very few customers.

At the popular Ken’s Wildflower in Bayside, proprietor Lester ‘Ken’ Crooks said it was a new beginning.

“I am here trying to abide by the rules; I am having the proper seating and insisting that everybody must wear their mask. The truth is, we are trying to survive,” said Crooks.

His views were echoed by others who stopped by for the occasional drink.

In Naggo Head, other bars were observed closed, but the operators are hopeful that things will return to normal soon.

“We need to sit and chat, but if the adjustments are to save us from the coronavirus, then we have to abide by them,” one bar operator, Michael Nugent, said.