The head of Government’s coronavirus watchdog has insisted that the businesses closed over the weekend for breaching face-covering protocols had been warned.
The COVID-19 Monitoring Unit’s director, Ronald Chapman, said the businesses were not only warned but they were told what was expected of them and what criteria they should follow.
At a press briefing at Ilaro Court, Chapman said the businesses were also pointed towards the Government Information Service (GIS) website where all the protocols are available.
Chapman said: “And at that point in time they would have been warned, they were told that they could have been shut down for not following the protocols, and that shutdown is only for the night. So we didn’t shut them down long term, it was only overnight and if they continue, then on summary conviction they could be charged up to $50,000.”
On Sunday night, officers of the Monitoring Unit closed four bars on the south coast and pulled two party buses off the road, for breaching the protocol on the wearing of masks.
In addition, two party buses that drove into St Lawrence Gap while the officers were on the job were also ordered off the road because patrons were observed without masks and “packed close together jamming to loud music”.
In a GIS release, Chapman pointed out that all four bars had previously been warned about contravening the protocols, which related primarily to bartenders not wearing masks or face shields, and to some patrons also not wearing masks.
Chapman explained that while the protocol allowed for masks to be removed by patrons while sitting with their own groups to socialize and drinks, it was mandatory that the masks be worn when people were walking around the establishment, such as going to the bar or rest rooms.