When we caught up with the Minister of Tourism today we asked him about those COVID-19 restrictions that are not so tourism-friendly.  Business owners, particularly restaurateurs, have been complaining about the early curfew cutting into their bottom lines for the last fifteen months. We asked Minister Mahler if he has been advocating for more tourism industry-friendly restrictions. Here is what he told us.

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations

“The fine balance that we have to do in movement is between lives and livelihoods. As I said, it’s been fifteen, seventeen months of lockdown, wearing masks, not being able to fully open up the economy. But, I am telling you if this continues to spread and grow out of control in November and December then you will see the tourism numbers dip, then no money is coming in. So, like I said you have to create this balance between what the health folks are telling us and what the economy needs for it open back up, so that is the safest thing for us to do  and then  you will see all the other aspects of our economy open up especially the tourism industry.”

Paul Lopez

“How long must we play this balancing act? Your administration, your ministry is being accused of not having a plan.”

Anthony Mahler

“No, no, no there is a plan. Another plan will be presented to the public soon, how you deal with any spike. You put these measures in place when you get to this number. You do this if you get to this number. So, the Ministry of Health and Wellness is working with the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations in terms of rolling out a new plan as we move forward. But, if people are dying, if the hospital if overrun by these cases, how can we continue to open up? We have to be responsible.”

Channel 5