As expected, scores of citizens showed up at Maracas Bay yesterday to capitalise on the Good Friday holiday.
But unlike previous instances of mass gatherings at the beach during the pandemic, police said beachgoers have been adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines—so much so that no tickets or fines were issued up to midday when Guardian Media visited.
One patrol during the visit were senior officers attached to the North Eastern Division.
Senior Superintendent Winston Maharaj told Guardian Media: “Generally people are COVID compliant. We have no major issues up to this time.”He said up to the time of the interview, no beachgoer at Maracas was fined for breaching regulations including non-mask wearing, despite their “zero tolerance” approach to the breaches. For the rest of the holiday period, Maharaj urged citizens to exercise individual “responsibility and maturity.” It’s a plea that has become a mantra for health officials since the pandemic began over a year ago.
It was recently echoed by Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh on Thursday in light of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country. He said: “You can go to your beaches (over the Easter weekend) but be careful,” he said. Guardian Media spoke to some beachgoers yesterday about their decision to venture to the beaches despite the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country. “We’ve been paying attention to the news…so as much as we wanna have fun we still want to be safe while we having fun. So we come out and we say you know what, we’ll try and hook a little corner, keep the mask on and try to be safe and still have some fun,” Catherine Ayers, who was with some friends, said. She added: “Since the lockdown till now, we have not been coming out and liming at all. When they open it up a little bit, we still didn’t come out. So we say we holding on to this weekend but we didn’t expect those numbers to shoot back up.”
Kerius Henry, who was there to celebrate her birthday with her family, said she was surprised to see such a small crowd.“I thought it would’ve been more crowded than this, like really packed but it’s not that bad. It’s really good. Everybody section off, nobody crowding,” Henry said. Also surprised by the low turnout was Visham Babwah. He visited the beach with his family for the first time in two years and was there at 7 am. He said the presence of the police was welcomed on the beach. “Since morning they have been walking around. They wasn’t (sic) unnecessarily hassling people. They were really friendly and just advising people,” he said. Despite the small numbers on the beach, the North Eastern Senior Superintendant said they were expecting larger numbers come tomorrow and Monday. See Page 8