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Business Owners To Implement New COVID-19 Measures

The new Statutory Instrument (SI) will see many regulations placed on businesses currently in operation. Penalties will be incurred for businesses who defy the regulations. Ministers Michel Chebat and Kareem Musa spoke more on what this will mean when the new SI has officially started and hinted at a ticketing system they are looking to implement in early 2021.

Hon. Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness: “The sale of liquor will be restricted from 6pm to 7 am with the exception of those restaurants that are in hotels.”

Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “There is a responsibility being placed on owners and managers of establishments, please ensure that your customers are wearing face masks at all times. It is an offence not to wear face masks and not to wear it properly and the charge for that offence is $500. You will recall that there was a maximum that was imposed under the last couple SIs of $5,000 well in practice at the Magistrate’s Court level we saw where the Magistrate’s were fining people between $500 to $1,500, much of those fines have not been paid but in fact the police is going to be following up on those fines so you have a responsibility to pay that. That fine is now across the board $500, the Attorney General’s Ministry is currently drafting legislation that early in the new year we will be presenting so that police officers can issue tickets. So that is not in place yet so you will still be detained, you will still be taken to the police station, processed and you will still need to go to court at least until that law is passed so please be aware of that that it is not a ticketable offence at this moment but early in the new year we will be moving in that direction. The following businesses shall remain closed: bars, night clubs, casinos, gyms and gaming establishments; all of them are to remain closed during the term of this SI.”

Musa also expressed how important it is for businesses and patrons to maintain safe social distancing, as they have seen a lack of this. He also spoke about what capacity businesses are allowed to operate at.

Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “You must stay six feet apart from any individual that is near to you. No matter where you are six feet apart, that is also an offence so whether you’re working at a BPO, whether you’re just standing in a line outside a shop you have to maintain six feet apart from individuals that is an offence that carries again a $500 penalty. Other businesses that are allowed to open under these regulations will have responsibilities as well and this goes for government offices, this goes for shops, this goes for BPO’s any business whatsoever across the board must follow these guidelines and these restrictions. As business owners and offices you must ensure that the people inside, the customers and the staff both inside and outside the building maintain six feet distance at all times. So if you heard me correctly inside and outside. I know there’s a very popular  fast food restaurant on Freetown Road whenever you pass there you can see a lot of people gathered out there and they are not practicing social distancing so business owners please be warned that this applies to outside of your business as well so you will have to set up markers that are six feet apart and you must ensure that those customers are practicing social distancing. In terms of inside your building business ow ners have to ensure that customers including staff must not make up more than 50% maximum capacity of your building. So if your building can hold one hundred people which includes customers and staff you now can only have fifty people inside your business.”

Minister Chebat and Minister Musa spoke about the fines that an employee and employer can incur should they break any of the new SI’s. They also outlined protocols for schools and recreational activities.

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness:In terms of businesses who violate and employees who violate these regulations a $200 fine will be imposed on employees and on employers a $5,000 fine and a second violation by employers will result in their business being closed for a period of seven days. We’re also gonna be imposing a fine for those people who continue to have parties at their homes. Businesses are only going to be allowed a 50% customer base which is going to be based on their square footage.”

Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries:The food vendors are allowed to sell but again continuing from the last SI only from a private property. You cannot be on the street side selling you must be on a private property. Schools under this SI shall remain closed but of course they may continue to operate online and virtually. Recreational non contact sports, tennis, golf, table tennis or any other similar non contact sport will be allowed. Non contact so basketball you cannot play basketball, football you cannot play football any of these other sports that entails contact shall remain for the time being restricted you cannot engage in these sports.”