Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi

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As of 10 am today, citizens will not be allowed out of their compounds as the amended curfew hours governing public holidays kick in.

The curfew will run until 5 am Tuesday, lasting for a total of 19 hours.

Members of the public will be allowed to move about for just five hours, from 5 am to 10 am, only to visit essential places such as pharmacies and supermarkets, some of which have already indicated they will remain closed.

The holiday curfew hours was part of a new State of Emergency proclamation by President Paula-Mae Weekes, released by the Office of the Attorney General just after midnight yesterday morning.

At a news conference yesterday, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi urged citizens not to look for excuses to be outside during the non-curfew hours.

“Let’s stay home if we can. I don’t think we need to find every exception in the book as to why we absolutely, all of us, have to move tomorrow on the public holiday and on Thursday,” he said.

“This is really an occasion where anyone who has the ear of anyone else ought to simply encourage the position,” he said.

In response to a question by Guardian Media on whether the success of the longer curfew hours over the two holidays would be a gauge for similar hours on Labour Day (June 19) or even over weekends, the Attorney General said: “The answer is, quite simply, yes.”

Al-Rawi also said the data would guide the government’s way forward.

“All of that feeds into what recommendations come next,” he said.

Between 5.01 am to 9.59 am some limited activity will be allowed.

Religious organisations will be able allowed to operate but only to perform funeral and wedding services, at which the gathering of people cannot exceed ten.

As permitted before, a maximum of five people will be allowed for the purpose of streaming or recording religious services during that time period.

Burials, cremations and wedding receptions are also permitted to occur within this five-hour window and the number of people gathered must not exceed 10.

Pharmacies are also allowed to open before the curfew begins.

The regulation also allows for essential services to function between 5 am and 10 am. Thereafter, only people on their way to and from work, employed in critical essential services, will be allowed on the streets and must present proof that satisfies police officers manning the streets.

According to the State of Emergency regulations, “A person who contravenes these Regulations commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for six months.”

An exception to the curfew is given to categories of people deemed essential in the regulations, or as Al-Rawi explained yesterday, those seeking urgent medical treatment or with critical care appointments such as dialysis treatment.

In instances where essential workers are required to be on the road in the course of performing their duties but do not have a curfew pass, the Attorney General said they could present their work identification to officers.

He advised those who may need to be on the streets during curfew hours out of necessity, should contact the Operational Command Centre at 480-2000 or 612-3876 for the necessary clearance.

Al-Rawi also clarified that pre-packaged cooked food can be sold at supermarkets once they were not prepared by restaurants as adjusted for in Regulation 3 (11).

The regulation states: “Restaurants shall remain closed and shall not supply or distribute prepared meals for sale to—(a) supermarkets, groceries, markets, greengrocers, bakeries, poultry depots; (b) retail membership discount stores; (c) wholesale stores for the provision of food, medicine or other necessities of life; (d) pharmacies; or (e) convenience marts attached to petroleum stations, except where authorised by the Minister.”

He said this is prohibited because “the staff that comes out to cook for these restaurants and prepare the food will be in circulation.”

However, he advised that those who are supplying these kinds of meals contact the police for further clarification to be safe.