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Trotters Sports Bar employee Kathleen Mascall makes a curbside pick-up delivery to a customer on Maraval Road during the reopening of restaurants yesterday.

Business owners/operators and patrons found to be flouting safe zone regulations will face hefty fines.

This was revealed by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi during a media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, on Saturday, as he outlined the attached penalties that could see owners/operators being fined $25,000 if an unvaccinated person is found on/at their premises, while unvaccinated patrons will be fined $5,000.

For presenting fraudulent documentation falsifying vaccine status, the AG warned that this is a summary offence and the individual will be charged with fraud.

Due to go into effect on October 11, safe zones will allow only fully vaccinated patrons 12 years and over to access restaurants, bars, betting houses, cinemas, private members clubs, gyms, and water parks.

Unvaccinated members of the public have been told that they can continue purchasing and collecting meals via curbside pick-up and home delivery, as they will be barred from dining in.

There is no safe zone application to be obtained, however Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said people can download the safe zone regulations and display it on their storefront which would be a signal to the authorities and patrons alike that the business is such and all rules outlined will be adhered to.

All employees of businesses that choose to declare themselves a safe zone were required to be fully vaccinated, but it is possible that medical exemptions will be accepted for unvaccinated employees. Al-Rawi said these people must possess a Medical Exemption Certificate or a Medical Deferral Certificate from a medical officer practicing in the public healthcare system.

He explained, “A Medical Exemption Certificate certifies that the owner of that certificate is unable, for specified medical reasons, to be vaccinated. A Medical Deferral Certificate certifies that the owner of the certificate is unable, for a number of reasons for a specific period, to be vaccinated.” This includes pregnant and breastfeeding mothers; immuno-compromised people; and those that had contracted the COVID-19 virus.

“If you are the beneficiary of either an exemption certificate or a medical deferral certificate, you are obliged under the regulations to obtain either an approved rapid test or a PCR test or such other tests approved. You must present yourself with those certificates with a negative PCR, or negative rapid test every 14 days. And those are to be kept on record and to be kept on file,” the AG advised.

The cost of the PCR test is to be absorbed by the individual.

Although the current Public Health Regulations will expire on October 4, the AG assured it will be updated by the end of this weekend and will be expanded to include schools, which were not safe zones.

Police officers as well as public health officers will be visiting safe zones to carry out checks to ensure employers, employees and patrons comply.

Asked if these officers must be vaccinated before they can carry out such duties in these spaces, Al-Rawi said that will be up to the Ministry of Health and the T&T Police Service to decide.