A proposed amendment to the Public Health Law could see fines for COVID-19 breaches increased from $1,000 to $10,000 as government moves closer to its phased border reopening.

The amendment, which is expected to be debated in the upcoming Legislative Assembly session beginning on 14 Oct., provides for changing section 71(2) of the Public Health Law (2002 Revision) to increase penalties for contraventions.

“The amendment seeks to increase the fine from $1,000 to $10,000, increase the term of imprisonment from a term of six months to a term of two years and increase the fine for a continuing offence to $500 for each day that the offence continues after conviction,” according to the new amendment.

Earlier this month government published two sets of public health regulations aimed at facilitating the phased reopening of borders, which begins 1 Oct., and ensuring that the terms of home isolation are followed by those who opt for it.

The new Prevention, Control and Suppression of Covid-19 (Partial Lifting of Restrictions) (No.4) (Amendment) Regulations makes it an offence for people quarantined at home to permit another person to visit them.

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Those found in breach of this regulation will face a fine of $1,000 and imprisonment for six months. It is anticipated that this fine will increase should the amendment to the Public Health Law be passed.

Those changes took effect 17 Sept., the same day a British Airways flight from London arrived with the first batch of passengers to test drive Cayman’s electronic-monitoring wristband and geofencing technology.

A selection of 29 passengers from 12 households were chosen to take part in a trial run of what is being called the ‘quarantine in residence programme’. 

The Compass is awaiting an update from Government Information Services on that initiative.

The previous regulations are set to expire soon and it is anticipated that new regulations will be issued either later Tuesday evening or Wednesday.

The proposed amendment to increase COVID-19 penalties was gazetted last week.

This week the United Kingdom upped the ante on its own COVID-19 offences, making it illegal to refuse to self-isolate. This breach carries fines of £1,000 to up to £10,000 for repeat or serious offenders, according to the BBC.

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