The Guyana government on Thursday warned that it would move to revoke licences of bar owners and other businesses if they continue to flout regulations aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan said that a number of business places were ignoring the public health advisories that limit the number of patrons to reduce the transmission of the virus. Guyana is one of three Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to have registered a death linked to COVID-19.
Ramjattan said that “hard decisions” will have to be taken to ensure that persons are heeding all the necessary precautions to reduce the spread of the virus.
“We have given advisories, yet people are not listening to us.”— Ramjattan
“In Guyana, at the markets, restaurants and bars and so many places people are still in clusters… You go to some places and people are still drinking at the bars… We have given advisories, yet people are not listening to us, there is this cavalier attitude.
“I have to make some hard decisions and ensure that the Guyana Police Force come with their vehicles, warn them to disburse, we will have to revoke the licences of bar owners.”
The Public Security Minister said it is imperative that the advisories are heeded, and if need be, they may have to implement certain penalties for those who choose to ignore these health safety measures.
He warned that Guyana, like many other small developing countries, cannot deal with a massive outbreak of the virus that has been blamed for the deaths of more than 23,000 people worldwide.
“We do not have the first-hand health systems like Italy, England and China to deal with this issue. So, we have to be very careful… in Guyana, it is vitally important that we practice social distancing during this time to avoid catching or infecting others if we have it. That is the minimum we are asking people.”