Businesses across Antigua and Barbuda will have to ensure they are strictly abiding by the established COVID-19 regulations and guidelines, as a COVID Compliance Unit has been set up to monitor their operations.
The Central Board of Health (CBH) recently trained nine COVID Compliance Officers to monitor companies for health-regulation breaches.
The officers, who began their duties on February 14, are authorized to show up unannounced at businesses, including bars and restaurants, and request proof that the patrons are vaccinated, in accordance with health regulations.
She explains that if patrons are dining they are not to be interfered with or interrupted. However, if they are just sitting around, relaxing and drinking, then the Compliance Officers can approach the table and request their vaccination cards to verify their status.
Martin says that a number of businesses have not been following the regulations, which include the mandatory wearing of masks by customers.
She pointed specifically to bars, saying that they erect signs indicating that masks must be worn, but still allow persons to enter without the face covering and do not demand compliance.
Business owners and their customers can face stiff penalties if they are caught flouting the regulations.