Police: Bar owners warned for prosecution as crowds flock to pubs

Indoor bars reopened on Sunday as COVID-19 restrictions were eased further.

Police over the weekend found bar staff and hundreds of customers breaching the Prevention, Control and Suppression of COVID-19 Regulations that are currently in place, according to an RCIPS press release issued late Tuesday.

Three bar owners were warned for intended prosecution as police say hundreds of people, including some who reacted angrily to officers’ interventions, gathered at the establishments.

“We are gravely concerned at the level of disregard being shown by the staff and patrons at certain establishments. While most bars and restaurants have been complying with the regulations, the few that do not can potentially put the entire community at risk,” said Superintendent Pete Lansdown in a press release. “Our officers will continue actively enforcing these breaches through prosecution, and are also submitting the details of any breaches we find to the Liquor Licensing Board.”

According to the release, on Saturday night officers attended a bar on Seymour Drive, in George Town, and found more than 200 people gathered on the premises. Most of the patrons were not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing, police said. Officers also observed staff members at the location not wearing masks.

Officers then entered the building, and observed several people seated inside the bar paying for drinks, a further violation of the regulations as inside service was not allowed until Sunday.

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When officers attempted to speak to the owner of the bar, several customers became aggressive towards the officers and refused to comply with instructions given, police said. Additional officers attended the location and the owner was warned for intended prosecution for the breaches.

Later that night, police attended an outdoor restaurant and bar on West Bay Road and observed several hundred customers mingling freely, and committing similar offences, according to the release. The manager of the establishment was warned for intended prosecution, police said.

Early on Monday morning, police attended a bar on Shamrock Road, where they observed more than 200 people gathered on the property, mingling freely without masks and not maintaining social distancing, according to police, who added that staff members inside not wearing masks. The manager of the bar was warned for intended prosecution for the breaches.

“While we understand that Cayman is in a relatively safe position worldwide, and that persons are anxious to socialise after the extended period of curfew and restrictions, we implore upon everyone in the community to minimise risks, continue to observe the regulations that remain in place, and stay safe,” Acting Superintendent Brad Ebanks said.

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