With the current surge of COVID-19 cases and the recent confirmation of three variants of concern in the country, including the highly contagious Delta Variant the enforcement of the regulations is expected to heighten. Sixty-six new cases were confirmed today with twenty-one of those cases registered in Belize City- the most populated municipality and the economic hub of the country. Despite the numbers, however, the COVID-19 regulations continue to be ignored. People continue to be in public without face masks and social gatherings continue to occur. The Ministry of Health and Wellness today sent out another warning, telling businesses to desist from promoting social gatherings. Even with the increased fine of ten thousand dollars, the law is still being broken as Police Commissioner Chester Williams explains.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We have charged a number of persons for it. I have not been able to follow with the courts to see what the outcomes are but I know for a fact that even though the law stipulates a certain penalty the magistrates do have a discretion in law that they can use and for the most part we’re seeing that magistrates do exercise their discretion and do not charge that maximum amount. For the most part we see they charge like $500 of $1,000 but they do not go to that maximum. We do have significant part where people are not in compliance. I can tell you I move around the country and just last night I was in Placencia and Seine Bight and again I was upset to see that a number of persons continue to move around within those tow villages not wearing masks. I passed through Hopkins this morning and I saw the same thing in Hopkins. People are not complying and I had to get after the commanders and tell them that they need to ensure that we enforce the provisions of the regulation. People can only move around so freely without masks because the police have been complacent in enforcing the law and we cannot allow that to happen. So if it is that I have to change OC to put people there who are going to ensure that the regulations are enforced Im going to do that because I have a duty to this country to ensure that law enforcement represent what the people desire and not what the police think they should do. The law is the law and there is no option for us we have to enforce the law.”