Gary: 'Fake' bakeries, hardwares attempting to defy shutdown orders
Police have been forced to close several businesses that have been trying to exploit loopholes in the public health regulations to stay open.
National Security Minister Stuart Young first highlighted the issue at a virtual media conference on Wednesday, noting that some establishments have been masquerading as essential businesses.
Young said police have taken note of this sort of activity over the last few days.
“Persons buying maybe 10 loaves of bread and putting it in their storefront and claiming to be a bakery. Persons all of a sudden selling mops and brooms and disinfectant and saying that they’re a grocery store.”
“These attempts to circumvent the regulations, measures designed to protect us, the population, really just makes everyone’s life that much more difficult but we will continue to do what needs to be done,” he said.
In a telephone interview with Loop News, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith admitted that the problem is much more widespread than the Minister would have first indicated.
Griffith said these individuals have proven themselves to be true “trickydadians”, making nothing more than a few cosmetic adjustments to their stores to say they are an essential service and can remain open as restrictions on non-essential business activity continue to be in place until April 30.
He said police have seen instances of mini marts that added a refrigerator with small blocks of cheese calling themselves groceries in an effort to remain open.
Griffith said when officers visited stores that were supposed to be closed the owners of the establishments said that their items were on sale and that makes them a discount store.
“People are trying to shift the goal post and trying to find all of the blurred lines to shift toward their benefit.”
He disclosed that casinos and bars are among the establishments caught trying to open for business.
“They would try to open by keeping the front closed, but they would open the side and back doors to let patrons in.”
Griffith said this defiance was the same attitude demonstrated by many people who found themselves in roadblocks and blamed police for traffic congestion.
“These are irresponsible persons who refuse to listen. We are seeing a high level of immaturity displayed.
Imagine, big hard-back people, saying they will not do it (stay at home) because it is not a state of emergency.”
“This is the height of immaturity. You would expect this kind of behaviour from undisciplined children,” he added.
The Police Commissioner said this has been making officers’ jobs all the more difficult as they try to enforce the regulations, but, he assured, that police will do their due diligence to ensure that only essential businesses remain open.