COVID ENFORCEMENT: Over $1 million dollars in fines in breach of emergency orders

COVID ENFORCEMENT: Over $1 million dollars in fines in breach of emergency orders
(PHOTO: MEHANIQ VIA SHUTTERSTOCK)

52 people convicted and fined collectively $117,500

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — There were approximately 1,940 violations of the COVID-19 Emergency Orders since the start of the state of emergency resulting in  $1,020,550 of fines, according to the National Security Minister Marvin Dames.

As he outlined the work of his ministry during the 2021 budget, Dames indicated that while most Bahamians continue to follow health and safety protocols, there are hundreds of people who failed to adhere to the stipulations.

Authorities continue to see a challenge with social gatherings and parties across New Providence, Grand Bahama, and Family Islands prompting an increase in response to clamp down on events that carry an increased risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Dames said officers and ambassadors conducted 39,363 business establishment visits, of which, 331 businesses were found in breach of the Emergency Orders for operating a prohibited business.

“For the most part, the majority of businesses are adhering to the COVID protocols and CEU continues to encourage business owners and managers, alike, to keep their customers and employees safe,” he said.

With challenges also being seeing in the enforcement of travel protocols, Dames outlined that there were 62 people — 27 men, 33 women, one juvenile female, and a juvenile male — arrested with reference to fraudulent COVID-19 test results, and 52 people were convicted and fined totaling $117,500.

He furthered that airport ambassadors remained focused and vigilant in enforcing the Emergency Orders, as it relates to interisland travels, discovering 523 people who attempted to travel without proper documents and were denied by COVID ambassadors at their various checkpoints.

He said COVID ambassadors were also posted at beaches during holidays and special operations to ensure that beachgoers were following protocols and some. 1,346 beach visits were conducted.

The Bahamas has been in a state of emergency since March 17, 2020 — just days after the country recorded its first case of the virus.

A public state of emergency has been in effect since last March, along with teetering lockdowns and daily curfews.

The governor-general recently issued a new proclamation declaring a continued state of emergency, which came into effect on May 14 and will continue until August.

The COVID-19 Enforcement Unit (CEU) at the Cable Beach Police Station forms the basis of the COVID Command Centre and was established in August 2020 and consists of civilian monitors, dispatchers, and ambassadors who work along with Police Officers.

The programme is operational in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma, and Bimini.

The unit is responsible for coordinating national activities, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, to ensure that both Bahamians and visitors adhere to the health and safety protocols of the Emergency Orders.

About Sloan Smith

ssmith@ewnews.com Sloan has spent the past four years as a lead news writer immersed in the field, covering a range of investigative breaking news developments. She produces daily salient pieces on natural disasters, crime, politics, policy, human-interest, and socioeconomic realities.

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