Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith yesterday warned against breaching COVID-19 regulations by using virtual Carnival fetes as an opportunity for mass gatherings.

In an official statement, he pointed out that effective October 12, 2020, public gatherings of up to ten persons are allowed. However, with an “upsurge of virtual Carnival fetes, which are being planned to turn into mass gatherings by a few”, the police will intervene if the regulations are breached, Griffith warned.

“These virtual Carnival events, if not controlled, would yet again be a cause for the virus to spread as some who are either irresponsible, or see an opportunity to make a profit, are planning to get unto the site of these virtual events and set up large screens with powerful sound systems, even in their own back yards, then to have cover charges, or bring a bottle etc, and to have others view the event, and be entertained at such venues, hence turning it into a Carnival fete.

The Commissioner added: “This is where the TTPS would yet again intervene, not to be the Grim Reaper of Carnival, but merely to do our job to ensure that the regulations are not breached and that persons act responsibly.”

Griffith said while he understands the rationale of virtual Carnival events “primarily as an avenue to provide funds for certain institutions to offset annual expenses, inclusive of schools” there are dangers with such planned events.

He also warned against using feeds from virtual events to invite others to private premises to view and participate.

“Such actions would be seen as breaches of the Public Health Ordinance Regulations, as you would be turning your private premises into a public place and the police would act accordingly,” he said.

Commissioner Griffith also addressed recent concerns about weddings.

“There is a very specific and scientific reason why the Ordinance made allowances for weddings, but with very clear guidance as to the requirements. One cannot compare a wedding with hundreds of guests, to a wedding with ten or twenty guests,” he said.

“We have absolutely no issue with the hosting of the smaller weddings, as we have seen an upsurge in this practice. However, the higher the numbers, the higher the risk. And I want to remind the population, that we will enforce the laws, even if it means protecting you from yourself.”

He added: “We are not alone in the ever-evolving fight to manage behaviours to decrease the spread. However, what makes it more challenging is the continued push back, including the constant questioning of the enforcement of the Quarantine Act.

“These laws have been drafted and are being enforced, not to frustrate anyone, but to save lives. Our role is to enforce the law—it’s that simple.”