The wearing of facemasks in pubic places in St Kitts and Nevis is now mandatory and anyone found in breach could be fined up to $5000 and imprisoned for six months.
This is outlined in Saint Christopher and Nevis Statutory Rules and Orders No. 38 of 2020, which took effect from August 8 and expires on August 29.
“The regulation provides for fixed penalty notices or what we call tickets to be issued to persons who refuse to wear their masks,” said Superintendent Cromwell Henry during the August 8 edition of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) COVID-19 Briefing.
“Under Regulation 22(2), a police officer can issue a fixed penalty of $500 to any person who contravenes the provisions of Section 15 in relation to wearing a face mask in public places.”
As outlined in the regulations, a public place is defined as an indoor or outdoor area, whether privately or publicly owned, to which the public has access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied whether by payment of money or not. Such places include shopping centres; supermarkets; pharmacies; banks; utility departments; bars; drinking places and restaurants; hotels; educational institutions; hospitals; religious establishments; public transportation; community centres; government offices; public markets and other places or buildings of all types accessible to the public.
Anyone who refuses to pay the fine within 10 business days from the date of the notice will go before the court where the Magistrate has the power to increase the $500 fine to up to $5000 and six months imprisonment.
Persons who suffer from a disability; cognitive impairment; dementia; asthma; chronic obstructive lung disease or other similar health conditions, as well as children under the age of three and persons within a private space including a private vehicle are exempted from wearing masks.
“The Regulations, 15(2), provides some exceptions to the wearing of masks. We have heard persons complaining that they cannot wear the masks for various reasons and those were taken into consideration. And so, the new regulations have created exceptions for those persons who have underlying conditions.
Superintendent Henry noted that the penalties could be avoided if persons adhere to the rules and regulations.