Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Carvin Malone has warned residents that the Government of the Virgin Islands is taking breaches to the existing COVID-19 protocols seriously.
Addressing the issue via a statement last evening April 5, the Minister said: “Since the Social Distancing Taskforce has been activated, over 150 tickets or fines have been issued. The message to persons caught violating the provisions of the safety protocols is simple and resolute – “We will find you, and we will fine you.”
“The Government takes these breaches very seriously because it is costly to lockdown! It is costly to businesses. It is costly to lives. All of our hard work and efforts for the last year will not go down the drain,” he added.
The Minister also took the time to remind residents of the penalties for breaking the rules.
He reminded that a person who tampers with or damages a geofencing device (which we call the bracelet) will pay $2,000; a person who visits a quarantined person will pay $5,000; a person who contravenes the protocols or guidelines under these regulations will pay $10,000; a person who refuses to return a geofencing device or approved monitoring device will pay $500; a person who provides false information when submitting an application for entry to a designated Public Health Officer enforcing a quarantine order will pay $5,000.
He said the fines were implemented to deter persons from flouting the protocols and will be used to ensure compliance, adding that “We must each do our part to ensure, not only that we remain law-abiding citizens but primarily to keep this Territory as safe as possible.”
Meanwhile, Cabinet decided that crowd sizes for indoor and outdoor establishments be reduced from 200 to 75 persons; crowd sizes for faith-based services; graduations; weddings and funerals be reduced from 200 to 100; a written application for crowd sizes for outdoor events of more than 75 persons shall be made to the Minister for approval and; recommended to the National Security Council that the Curfew Order remains in-force from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. This order will expire on the 15th of April.
“These measures we approved to allow for the contact tracing to be more effective during the period in question and will be reassessed from time to time,” he explained.