The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force in conjunction with the COVID-19 Taskforce has so far issued 317 tickets to non-compliant businesses and individuals across Providenciales.
This was disclosed by Superintendent Dwight Gardiner, Divisional Commander for Division B, which comprise Providenciales, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, West Caicos and other surrounding cays.
Superintendent Gardiner made the revelations while addressing a government news conference on COVID-19 at the Premier’s Office on Providenciales, Thursday.
He said of the number of tickets issued, 13 were to businesses and organizers of events, while the rest were issued to individuals for breaking the 1am to 5am curfew.
He said businesses were issued with $5,000 tickets while individuals were issued with $250 tickets.
“Over the past four weeks we have intensified our enforcement efforts and response to a rise in COVID cases and also social events which have the potential to be a breeding ground for a massive spread of the virus,” said.
“Our frontline uniformed officers, as well as a Special COVID Enforcement Taskforce Team, consisting of police and Environmental Health has been formed to effectively enforce COVID-19 across Providenciales, focusing on social events and large gatherings, liquor license premises and other businesses,” he continued, noting also that they have established a zero-tolerance for persons breaking the curfew.
He expressed the hope that the heavy fines would deter businesses from running afoul of the COVID Regulations.
“I would hope that that (hefty fines) would deter businesses from allowing the breaches of COVID Regulations,” he said, adding that for an individual to fork out $250 at this time could be a huge dent on their financial resources.
“This amount is high for any individual having to pay,” he said.
Superintendent Gardiner also revealed that officers, when visiting especially bars and restaurants, noticed that patrons pay little or no regard to COVID protocols.
“Some of the things being noticed by police officers especially bars, restaurants and night clubs, a lack of social distancing, persons not wearing facemasks and overcrowding relevant to the maximum capacity at the individual establishments, especially bars and restaurants,” Gardiner revealed.
He said in some communities, namely Dockyard in the Kew Town area and Kingstown in the Bight have been holding parties well after Curfew hours.
“Our teams are focusing on these particular areas and are enforcing the COVID regulations. Needless to say, these types of gatherings and other social events have the potential to cause some of the serious breakouts of COVID cases. And so, we, the police, will continue to enforce the regulations to not cause another COVID breakout,” Gardiner vowed.
He continued: “I implore residents and visitors to Providenciales and the country at large to comply with the regulations.”