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Fines coming for persons who fail to adhere to Covid protocols

Fines coming for persons who fail to adhere to Covid protocols

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NEW COVID-19 regulations came into effect on Saturday February 6, with the publication of Statutory Rule and Order (SR& O) No. 4 of 2021-Public Health (COVID-19) Rules 2021.

The SR& O will remain in effect for a month in the first instance and allows for fines ranging from $100 to $1000 for persons who fail to adhere to any part of the order.

On Monday, the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force’s (RSVGPF) Public Relations Department noted that the ministry of health, wellness and the environment implemented the additional rules to bolster the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rules enforce the mass gathering protocols with particular emphasis on bars, gambling sheds and rum shops.

The SR& O also makes masks mandatory in all public transportation vehicles, public establishments and private establishments to which the public has access.

Anyone who breaches these rules is liable to a fine ranging from a minimum of $100 to as much as $1000.

The owner or operator of a restaurant or food establishment, or the owner or operator of a bar, nightclub, or other place of entertainment is also liable to be fined.

Speaking about the SR& O on Sunday during WE FM’s Issue at Hand program, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves who is also minister of national security said it gives legislative effect to the proposals announced on Friday by chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Simone Keizer-Beache and medical officer of health Dr Roger Duncan.

He said police officers have the responsibility of imposing the SRO and there is a ticketing system.

“If you pay by a ticket, it is cheaper than if you go to the court,” Gonsalves said while adding that if a person is dining indoors at a restaurant, that person is liable to be fined EC$100.

The Prime Minister added that if the owner or manager permits more than 10 persons in a bar, nightclub or place of entertainment, that is an EC$500 fine.

He said that with the EC$100 fine, if you go to the court and lose the case, the magistrate will charge a higher fine.

Gonsalves said that with the fines, if you own the restaurant and you don’t follow the rules, the ticket of EC$500 could become EC$1000 and a ticket of EC$100 could become EC$500.

The fine is recoverable as a civil debt due to the crown which means that if it is not paid, the court can send you to prison, not for the offence, but for not following the order to pay.

“I believe that most people are going to follow the rules and the police are going to apply the rules with great sensitivity,” Gonsalves said.