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Revellers flouting rules on illegal gatherings – in place to curtail the coronavirus spread – are warned they face stiff fines and even prison.

Police say there have been several reports of crowds at public and private functions, in defiance of frequent warnings and regulations issued by the Ministry of Health.

A statement from the force’s communications arm said, “The general public is reminded that Antigua and Barbuda is still under a state of emergency and, as such, it is an offence according to the Public Health (Dangerous Infectious Diseases) Amendment Act of 2020 for any person to host or attend any private party, which includes any person from outside his or her immediate household.

“It is also unlawful for anyone to attend or participate in any sporting event or any sports stadium; or hold any banquet, ball or reception.”

Fines for owners of premises where a party is held – along with organisers and attendees – are $5,000. If held liable, law breakers also face prison for six months, in place of or in addition to the fine.

 Police say they are also concerned by instances of promoters and event organisers advertising events before seeking proper approval from the office of the Commissioner of Police.

“An appeal is made to those concerned to first seek permission and assistance from the police, so that a proper assessment can be carried out on the conditions under which these events are to be held,” the statement said.

People are also reminded to adhere to facemask wearing in public places, social distancing protocols, and rules for beach use.

“The public can be assured that the police will continue to address this matter and are looking forward to the full cooperation of all,” the statement added.

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