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GOB Releases Statutory Instrument Number Seventy Four

Amendments to Statutory Instrument Number 74 have been finalized and will take effect at midnight tonight. While there are only two main features of the amendments they are heavy measures that make up a part of the government’s Covid-19 regulations. The amendments are requiring that persons looking to gain access to a government or semi-government office be vaccinated or present a Rapid/PCR Test. Love News spoke with Police Commissioner, Chester Williams to get a breakdown of the new amendments.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “There are two main features of this new regulation. The first being the fact that fisherman mask, ski mask , or any other type of mask that may cover the entire head or face is now being outlawed which means that one is only now expected to wear the ordinary mask or something similar to that or similar in nature. However the regulations do make provisions that owners or proprietors of business establishments can determine what type of mask they may allow on their premises. Now while yes the regulation is giving business owners that right it still must be in conformity with the regulations. So a business owner per say will not be allowed to say to a person you can come into my business place with a ski mask just as an example. The next salient feature of the regulation is the fact that in order for any person to enter any government office, public medical institution, or any office of a statutory body that those persons must produce proof of immunization or in the absence of that they must produce a negative PCR or rapid test which would have been no more than two weeks old. Now again the regulation makes provision that the CEO or the Head of Department for any government institution may not allow persons on the government building or offices without having met those requirements and when it comes to statutory board as an example would be like BTL is a statutory body, PUC is another one so offices like those even though they’re not per se government offices they are what we refer to as quasigovernment and so they again to enter those establishments you will be required to either have a negative PCR, rapid test or at least one dose of the vaccine, either of the vaccines. Now there are some exceptions to the rule that a person who may enter for example a medical institution without having either the immunization proof of the PCR or rapid test that they are not to be denied entry so long as it is for an emergency purpose. However once they’re upon the premise then they must subject themselves to be tested by the Ministry of Health Personnel. Likewise a person coming to the police station is for an emergency purpose they will be allowed to enter the station without having either of those proof but again once they’re upon the premises then they must subject themselves to be tested by the Ministry of Health personnel. Again these are the two main features in the amendment to the SI. The other provision of SI number 74 remains in force, that particularly that dealt with the whole issue of social distancing, wearing of masks, and these sort of things those remain in force.”

As is noted, persons will still be able to get emergency medical attention at a public facility with the condition that they agree to be swabbed for Covid-19. The tricky part comes in with persons detained or arrested by Police. According to the Commissioner, swabbing may not be able to get done right away but it will get done.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “For example persons who may wish to commit a crime well I am not vaccinated I won’t do a PCR or a rapid test so I can go and commit crime and the police will not be able to take me to the station because I don’t have immunization proof or either of the tests well let me say to you that in those circumstances you are being arrested by the police you are being detained by the police whether or not you have either of those prof you will be taken to the police station and we will then recommend to the Ministry of Health for you to be tested at the earliest opportunity that we may have. The regulation also speaks to the fact that employees of these different institutions must also submit proof of immunization or every two weeks they must produce either a negative PCR or rapid test and in the absence of them producing either of those proof then they will not be allowed to be at work and shall be marked absent and will be subject to the disciplinary procedure of that particular office or institution.”

Reporter: What about the prison ? For example if the court remands somebody to prison? 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I think the prison already has a system in place that whenever prisoners go to the prison the first thing they do is to test them and so they have a very god system there that has been working for them and I’m certain that is going to continue.”

Reporter: Alright and then finally on the SI can you talk about penalties ? 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Well again those persons who may enter a building or any of the buildings or offices mentioned in the SI without having either of the proof which is the immunization or the negative PCR or rapid test commits an offence and that offence is ticketable and the fine is $500.”

It is to be noted that the regulations do not apply to children under the age of twelve.