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EDITORIAL: Why do some get to show such blatant disregard?

THE news that there were another 40 cases of COVID-19 in New Providence yesterday means it looks increasingly likely that the national lockdown will be extended.

But is everyone playing by the same rules?

The Tribune was told of a restaurant that was opening its doors and serving customers – despite the lockdown rules preventing such activity.

Surely not, we thought, the police would close such a place down quickly if that were the case.

Well, our staff went to investigate Getaway Restaurant and Lounge yesterday – and not only were police not closing it down, they were among its customers!

People were happily coming in and out of the restaurant, ordering their food and heading out with their packages.

Is it really one rule for everyone? What special preference does that restaurant get? We are not aware of any special exemption granted to this business. Why do officers not only fail to enforce the law but happily support the rules breakers with their custom? If that restaurant can open, why can’t the others?

How much have you missed your favourite restaurant food during this lockdown – and do you think it’s fair that you’ve been going without while others have happily been disregarding the lockdown regulations?

As for the police officers, they know the rules, they know that restaurants are not exempt.

Where else is opening and being ignored by the officers meant to enforce the rules? Is that why we had another 40 cases yesterday, because the lockdown is not being enforced properly?

If it is not safe for these premises to be open, then no premises should be open – just as the order requires. If it is safe, then they should all be open. Goodness knows businesses could do with the custom.

This makes us think back to the case of Jonathan Ash, the businessman fined for selling alcohol at a bar in breach of the emergency orders and whose actions were described as a “blatant disregard for the law”.

This is exactly the same – and not just on the part of the business, but for those officers who shopped there rather than shutting it down.

It is simply not good enough.

Virus brings a domino effect

Should we need an example of why the lockdown is necessary, we need look no further than the string of government offices suddenly shutting their doors.

The Ministry of Health yesterday announced it was shutting down for sanitisation after a staff member tested positive. The Ministry of Public Works soon followed. The Public Hospitals Authority joined the club too.

This comes after the Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre closed down after a worker tested positive. That houses the offices of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister. The Education Minister has also self-quarantined after being exposed.

Office after office in the senior ranks of government forced to close because of the continuing spread of the virus.

Yesterday was a single-day record for the number of cases in New Providence. We’d best get used to this if we don’t use this lockdown to stop the virus dead.

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