New public health regulations introduced Heftier fines for non-compliance By Laura Pillay |11 February 2021
Persons failing to comply with provisions of the Public Health Order and regulations imposed by the Ministry of Health to combat the Covid-19 pandemic are to face heftier fines and penalties for non-compliance, with the enforcement of newly introduced regulations.
The regulations which apply to the mandatory wearing of face masks and the prohibition on public gatherings officially came into force on Monday February 8, and aims to further discourage persons from engaging in activities that could facilitate the spread of the virus, especially during these crucial periods when community transmission cases are on the rise.
As per the Public Health (Infectious Disease) (Mandatory Wearing of Face Masks) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021 (S.I. 11 of 2021), persons who fail to adhere to mandatory face mask wearing in stipulated places could face a fine not exceeding R20,000, or imprisonment upon conviction.
The amendment, introduced by Minister for Health Peggy Vidot in accordance with section 26 read with section 64(c) of the Public Health Act, 2015, serves to repeal Section 5 of The Public Health (Infectious Disease) (Mandatory Wearing of Face Masks) Regulations, 2020, in which it was prescribed that failure to comply would lead to a R100 spot fine.
As per Section 2 of the 2020 regulations, it is mandatory for all persons in Seychelles to wear face masks on public transport, in indoor places, outdoor places, places of work and other circumstances where one metre physical distancing cannot be maintained, while Section 3 details that face masks shall be made of such material as to prevent droplets from spreading while allowing the user to breathe, and the dimension of the face masks shall cover the nose and mouth of the user.
Additionally, with the enforcement of the Public Health (Infectious Disease) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021 (S.I. 12 of 2021) which makes provisions for a new regulation (19A) to be inserted in the Public Health (Infectious Disease) Regulations, persons not adhering to the ban on all public assemblies and indoor public assemblies can also face a fine amounting up to R20,000, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 2 years.
Section 8 of the Public Health (Infectious Disease) Regulations provides for the Public Health Commissioner to in the incidence of infectious disease prohibit all public assemblies or all indoor public assemblies, in the whole or any part of Seychelles, and that he satisfy the requirement to make an order in writing and cause the order to be promoted by means of placards, circulars, broadcasting or otherwise as may be practicable.
Asides from amendments to existing regulations, the Public Health (Fixed Penalties) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 13 of 2021), also came into force on Monday. The set of regulations imparts to designated officers powers to issue fixed penalty notices to persons aged over 18 and who they believe have committed a specific offence, going further to detail the process by which fixed penalty notices can be issued.
As stated in Section 10, the fixed penalty shall be paid within three days of the receipt of notice, or risk facing legal proceedings for failure to do so, without valid reason. Fixed penalties collected under the regulations shall be paid into the Consolidated Fund.
Fixed penalties for all categories of offences under the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations are set at R500.