Tuesday 2 June, 2020

Bars, clubs, restaurants to reopen in one month

Government has reduced its ban on the opening of bars and dining at restaurants and clubs to just one month.

In an updated legal notice on Thursday night, The Public Health (2019 Novel Coronavirus [2019-nCoV]) (N0. 2) Regulations, 2020 signed by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, the public was advised that the regulations regarding the opening of these recreational businesses will expire on April 20, unless revoked earlier.

The revised regulations, issued in accordance with section 105 of the Public Health Ordinance, replaces a previously issued ordinance in which the ban was originally in place until July 31. 

The Public Health Ordinance allows the Minister to use discretionary powers to "do anything possible for the protection of the public health".

According to the regulations issued on Thursday, anyone found to be operating a bar during this period is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for six months.

The new regulations will come into force on March 21.

The regulations are in keeping with measures by Government to prevent mass gatherings and curb the spread of COVID-19.

Below is the full legal notice detailing the revised regulations, as issued by the Ministry of Communications at 10.32 pm:

1. These Regulations may be cited as the Public Health (2019 Novel Coronavirus [2019-nCoV]) (No. 2) Regulations, 2020.

(1) For the purposes of controlling and preventing the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), it shall be an offence, during the period specified in regulation 3, for any person – (a) to conduct the business of a bar, whether or not the person is a licensed person under the Liquor Licences Act;

(b) to operate a club as defined in section 2 of the Registration of Clubs Act; or

(c) to provide the amenity of seated dining at a restaurant to any customer.

(2) These Regulations shall not apply to hotels registered under the Tourism Development Act as it relates to persons who are registered to stay in the hotel.

(3) A person who contravenes subregulation (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for six months.

3. The Public Health (2019 Novel Coronavirus) (2019-nCoV) Regulations, 2020 is hereby revoked.

4. These Regulations come into force on 21 March, 2020 and expire on 20 April, 2020.

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