Owner of Trent Restaurants Limited, parent company of Buzo Osteria Italiana, Trotters and Prime Restaurants Peter George says by the end of the week a decision will be made on whether his businesses will remain open.
“At the end of this month, which is just four days away, some of those decisions are going to be made,” he said.
The restaurateur made the announcement on CNC3’s The Morning Brew programme and said one of his restaurant chains, the Blue Star Diner, closed its doors in September.
“Losses were totally unsustainable,” George said.
He added he was not in the habit of listening to the prime minister’s addresses but admitted that he was disappointed with the announcement of a hold on dine-in and gathering at restaurants and bars for another two weeks.
“You cannot beat the virus,” he said.
He predicts that with the reopening of beaches and religious institutions there’ll be an increase in COVID-19 cases.
“When you consider with 40 cases, we weren’t open and the beaches and churches are open and with that type of opening you going to see an increase in numbers,” he said.
Businessman Peter George
“If at 40 I’m not open you’re going to tell me that at 60 I’ll be open,” he asked.
George said Trent Restaurants Limited was one of the first groups to close because of COVID-19, even before they were mandated to. But he said eight months later there was no balance.
“You can’t tell me close my business and good luck, get a life jacket,” he said.
The businessman said unlike other countries there is no aid available for businesses in this country and believes it’s time to balance the consequences.
“It’s about keeping the economic wheel spinning,” he said.
George referred to the borders still being closed as a travesty and said the emotional damage being done to people still stuck outside is causing tremendous trauma.
He said the pain is deep as there are people who are living under the guise of eviction because they have not paid rent for months.
Geroge called Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to, “belly up to the podium”, and reopen the economy.