A group of pedestrians wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19 cross the intersection of Broadway and South Quay, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

Police have distributed over $4 million worth of fixed penalty notices to citizens for failing to wear face masks while in public since the mandate’s implementation.

According to statistics from the police, as of January 18, some 4,287 people were fined under the public health regulations.

The largest number of tickets were distributed in the Eastern Division amassing 2,329 more than the other eight divisions combined.

On Thursday last week, 77 people were ticketed in Valencia for not wearing face masks while in public. They were caught as police officers conducted anti-crime exercises.

Just over the weekend close to 20 people were ticketed for not wearing face masks by Sangre Police officers as they carried out exercises in the district.

Both Valencia and Sangre Grande fall under the Eastern Division.

Trailing behind in the number of penalties issued in Eastern Trinidad was the Southern Division with 521 and Central Division with 290.

In Port-of-Spain, 148 tickets were issued, Western Division distributed 143 tickets while North Eastern Division distributed 165.

At the bottom of the list were the Northern Division with 85 penalty notices distributed while South Western Division distributed 72.

In Tobago, officers there issued 534 fixed penalties.

The police service was unable to say how many of these tickets were issued to repeat offenders. However, assuming they were all issued to first-time offenders, which carried a penalty of $1,000, it would mean the state raked in $4,287,000 over the five months the regulation has been enforced.

After the first case of COVID-19 was discovered in Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of Health, the Chief Medical Officer and the Government implemented several measures to stem the spread of the virus.

After face masks were recommended by the World Health Organisation in the fight against the coronavirus, the Government moved to make it mandatory.

And on Monday, August 31 2020, Independence Day anyone caught out in public without wearing a face mask or covering would be fined or ticketed.

Since then there have been repeated calls by health officials and the police for citizens to abide by the law, not only to avoid charges but the sake of their health. But there have been several infractions by some in the population.

The police service was also unable to provide information on where the most common breaches occurred though.

But from media reports, several tickets were distributed at beaches, during road exercises and even private parties.