The two bars on Tortola which were closed over the weekend due to breaches of the COVID-19 protocols will have to undergo training, new implementation measures and inspections before being allowed to reopen.
This is according to the Chief Environmental Health Officer Lionel Michael who made the disclosure during a recent interview with 284 News.
He said the aforementioned measures are an automatic requirement for bars and other businesses once a ticket for COVID-19 breaches has been issued.
“A fixed penalty ticket was issued for $1000 because that is the law and according to that law once you issue a ticket the business place must close immediately. Following closure, training and understanding the training must take place, followed by implementation of the measures to make sure it doesn’t occur again,” he said.
He added, ‘Followed by re inspection to determine if the business place can open again after they close or need to do more work. So those are the steps that have to be taken.”
Several observed red flags alerted investigation
Mr. Michael also revealed what led to him issuing a ticket to the Dos Chicas bar on the night of Saturday September 11th.
He said he was conducting the usual monitoring of various establishments across Tortola and upon travelling through the Sea Cow’s Bay area, he noticed a hive of activity that raised a number of red flags.
“We’re doing general monitoring, inspections of businesses throughout the BVI every day, weekends, holidays and evenings and the activity last night was part of the general monitoring, inspections of businesses. We go through Tortola to check businesses, all businesses and in Sea Cow’s Bay we came upon this bar Dos Chicas and we observed the bar was over crowded and we observed that there was no social distancing,” he said.
“People were not wearing masks, however those that were not wearing masks had something in their hands whether drink or food and so on, so they were eating or drinking and therefore they could not wear the mask at that time…However, people were very close up to one another and a lot of people where there at the bar,” he further explained.
The Chief Environmental Health Officer further detailed the breach, stating that it is one of the main recipes that helps to breed COVID-19 in the territory.
He said, “Physical distancing measures were breach, they were not 6 feet apart, they were close up to one another at the bar, which is a conducive environment for the spread of COVID-19. One thing we know about COVID-19 is that you stay 6-feet apart, the virus has very little chance of spreading. So that was the breach; physical distancing protocols were not met.”
The CEHO said that his team will be continuing daily patrols of businesses across the territory to ensure that all COVID-19 protocols are being adhered to.