— 91 warning letters issued so far
FOLLOWING increased enforcement efforts geared at ensuring local businesses comply with the COVID-19 measures instituted to help curb the spread of the virus, COVID-19, the Guyana Chronicle understands that 23 businesses were ‘shut down’ due to their continuous breach of the COVID-19 measures.
On Sunday last, this newspaper was informed that several local restaurants and bars were asked to cease their operations, by members of the armed forces that work alongside the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF).
Of the 23 businesses that were shut down, there were 18 bars and three restaurants that were allowing indoor dining and two supermarkets that were allowing persons to purchase alcohol and imbibe on the premises.
Restaurants were previously prohibited from offering indoor dining while the operations of bars, rumshops and similar establishments have been prohibited entirely. Though amendments made to the gazetted COVID-19 Emergency Measures (No. 13), on Wednesday, now allow restaurants to offer indoor dining but bars, rumshops and other such establishments are still prohibited.
The Guyana Chronicle previously reported that businesses found breaching these guidelines would receive a warning letter. Once that initial warning letter was sent to an establishment, the business would be advised on how it can comply with the guidelines. If the business continued to breach the guidelines, a second warning letter would be issued.
Subsequently, if the business still does not comply, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, said that the Task Force would shut down the business. And the 23 businesses whose operations were forcibly stopped, are some of the businesses which did not comply even after being warned twice.
This newspaper was also reliably informed that 91 businesses were issued such warning letters. These businesses are primarily from Regions Three, Four, Five and Six. This newspaper was informed that 53 of those businesses are in Georgetown.
Additionally, in the County of Berbice, one resort was asked to suspend its operations for the next three months after this business facilitated a massive gathering of persons recently.It is understood that the law enforcement authorities in that county will be tasked with ensuring that this entity complies with the imposed three-month suspension. It was previously reported that in Berbice, there have been scores of arrests over breaches of the COVID-19 violations.
“If everybody assists us, if we work collaboratively, we can all protect each other’s health, but if we’re going to violate these regulations, then it’s going to create problems for all of us,” Dr. Anthony lamented, recently.
Responding to comments about any selective closure of businesses by the task force, the minister said: “We have written to everybody and if they’re any institutions that people are aware of that we have given a free pass to, then I’ll suggest that they contact the Task Force secretariat and they bring that to our notice because nobody is above the law.”