140 people arrested – Guyana Chronicle

– in bars after Easter ‘COVID patrols’ Easter weekend
– The Task Force is competing with new measures adopted to implement guidelines

A total of 140 people were allegedly arrested over the Easter weekend after being found in various bars and entertainment venues later than the 22: 30hrs (10:30 PM) national curfew set up to help curb the spread the new coronavirus.

According to information provided to the Guyana Chronicle by a reliable source, on Good Friday about 23 people were arrested for breaking a curfew at the Sleep-In Hotel, located on Church Street, Georgetown. On Saturday, it was reported that 20 people had been arrested for the same crime at the Altitude bar on Sandy Babb Street, Kitty, Georgetown, alongside an additional 31 people at the Kairos on Charlotte Street, Georgetown.

In addition, police reports indicated that ranks from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) discovered a large number of customers at the Hommee Hospitality Hotel and Bar on Sunday morning. These individuals were collected in violation of COVID-19 regulations, and at the establishment after the curfew period. As a result, 26 people were arrested and placed on cash bail pending their court appearance.

Furthermore, during a ‘Covicurb’ exercise held on the east bank of Demerara (EBD) Saturday night into Sunday morning, 40 people were reported arrested for breaching the COVID-19 restrictions in the Supply Boat Bar, EBD.

It is important to note that while the national curfew is between 22:30 and 04:00 hours, COVID-19 emergency measures indicate that businesses should close by 21:30 hours.

As part of efforts aimed at facilitating safe celebrations during the Easter weekend, the National Task Force COVID-19 (NCTF) had said that Joint Services will conduct “aggressive” patrols across the country to enforce COVID-19 guidelines. According to a consultant issued by the NCTF Secretariat, all non-religious Easter activities, including shows, parties, lime and wet fair, are prohibited.

In addition to this consultation on the Easter weekend, COVID-19 Emergency Measures has a conclusion that sets out what measures have been adopted to curb the spread of COVID-19. These measures include the national curfew and the restrictions on the number of people allowed in restaurants and bars. In line with these guidelines, these organizations are only allowed to operate at 40 per cent capacity.

During a recent address to the nation, the President, Dr. Irfaan Ali said that while there are several religious and cultural events ahead of the country over the coming weeks, citizens should adhere strictly to approved COVID-19 guidelines.

“The COVID-19 Task Force has been asked to pursue allegations against owners of organizations found to be in breach of COVID-19 guidelines,” he underlined.

Meanwhile, another newspaper reported that businesses had adopted new, covert measures to avoid these patrols conducted by the armed services. These measures include using walkie-talkies, getting spectators and even asking customers to park their vehicles several blocks away so that the organization would not be distracted.

A member of the NCTF Secretariat who wished to remain anonymous told this newspaper that the Task Force was aware of the tactics being used to evade patrols and break down the guidelines.

However, it was noted that members of the public had been reporting such covert activities. In addition, regular patrols around known establishments are expected to prevent such activities.