THE Hard Rock Café, located at the Movietowne Mall in Turkeyen, on the lower East Coast Demerara, was closed by the National Task Force COVD-19 (NCTF) Sunday afternoon as customers were dining at the restaurant. When the Guyana Chronicle visited the restaurant on Sunday night, all the employees were seen heading home. One employee noted that security forces had visited the facility that afternoon, while customers were eating inside and out, and asked them to leave the building in three minutes. The employee confirmed that although the restaurant offers indoor dining, the tables are all over six feet apart. According to Section (6) of the current COVID-19 guidelines, however, indoor dining is not prohibited.
Restaurants are allowed to offer outdoor dining, drive-through and takeaway, kerbside pick-up and delivery. Outdoor dining is only permitted during the hours of 04:00 and 21:30; each table must be between six feet apart, and no more than four persons should be seated at one table. Paragraph (3) (b) specifically states: “Indoor and buffet dining is prohibited.” Bars, rum shops, cinemas (excluding water-powered cinemas) and other such entertainment businesses are completely banned. The Guyana Chronicle understands that customers who ate at Hard Rock on Sunday left without completing their meals, and without paying their bills. The officers waited until each person left, informing the manager and other employees that the business would be closed indefinitely for breaches of the COVID-19 guidelines.
When the Guyana Chronicle tried to confirm this restaurant’s bell stance with the relevant authorities, a reliable source said, “They were told a few places to close, because they were breaking the measures.” The source did not name any of the organizations closed by the task force, but sought to remind this publication that the task force has been issuing warning letters to businesses that violate national COVID-19 guidelines for more than two months now.
Back in December, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony told the Guyana Chronicle that businesses found to be in breach of COVID-19 guidelines would receive two warning letters from the NCTF, and that the body would also seek to engage with ‘ to discourage these businesses from acting in breach of the law. But should these businesses, after the second warning letter, continue to breach the guidelines, Dr. Anthony that the Task Force would close their operations. Dr. Anthony also revealed that the National COVID-19 (NCTF) task force has so far written to more than 60 businesses, about breaching these guidelines.