PUNTA GORDA, Toledo District, Mon. Mar. 30, 2020– Commissioner of Police Chester Williams announced that police are cracking down on those persons who violate the COVID-19 safety protocols, and so far nine persons have been arrested and charged for not complying with those measures that were put in place for public safety.
Today in Punta Gorda, Basilio Mes and Oscar Lara were taken to the Punta Gorda Magistrate’s Court, where they were charged for the offense and were fined $1,000 each plus $5 cost of court. They were given until June 30 to pay the fine, and if they fail to pay, they will have to serve 6 months in jail.
The COVID-19 protocols are steps and instructions issued by the Ministry of Health in an effort to combat the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus, and include stipulations that no more than 10 persons gather in any one place, and that members of the public maintain a distance of at least three to six feet between them.
To enforce this social distancing, businesses are required to place markers to designate spots where members of the public are to stand as they await their turn to enter the business place, and the distance between the markers should be no less than 3 feet.
Commissioner Williams reiterated that despite the various warnings on the importance of strict adherence to the Quarantine Emergency Measures, persons are not adhering to these warnings and that if Belize is to avoid the brunt of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, persons and businesses must adhere to all measures put in place, as required by Statutory Instrument No. 38 of 2020.
Any person who is found guilty of any offence against this Act is liable on summary conviction to a fine of one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for six months or to both. Section 10.–(1) states:
It shall be the duty of every member of the Police Department to enforce, using force if necessary, compliance with this Act and with any order, instruction or condition lawfully made, given or imposed by any officer or other person under the authority of this Act, and for such purpose, any member of the Police Department may board any ship or aircraft and may enter any premises without a warrant.
Compol Chester Williams said that two bar owners have also been charged for keeping their bars open after closing hours, and that police will continue to aggressively enforce the COVID-19 safety measures, and he calls on members of the public to comply with these measures to prevent the further spread of the virus in our country.
“It is only by us working together that we can effectively contain this virus”, he said.