Police can stop gatherings that violate social distancing rules

Police can stop gatherings that  violate social distancing rules


 PHILIPSBURG--A Ministerial Regulation signed this week by Justice Minister Anna Richardson has given police officers and ministerial inspectors the power to stop gatherings that violate social-distancing measures.

  According to the regulation, a police officer or an extraordinary police agent (in Dutch, “buitengewoon agent van politie”) is authorised to terminate events and public gatherings if patrons are not maintaining at least two metres distance from each other. It is also forbidden to participate in these kinds of events.

  However, this does not apply if patrons wear protective masks or masks when they are less than two metres away from other persons.

  “These precautionary and mitigating measures of the government are an effort to help mitigate the spread of [COVID-19 – Ed.]. The inspectors and police officers will strictly enforce these measures. All instructions issued by the police for executing and enforcing these measures should, therefore, be strictly and immediately respected. Noncompliance with these measures will be considered a violation of the General Police Ordinance and the Penal Code,” said Richardson in a press release on Thursday.

  Failure to comply with the regulation may result in imprisonment or a fine in accordance with Article 128 of the General Police Ordinance. This Article stipulates jail time up to 14 days or a fine up to 100 guilders.

  The Ministerial Regulation is set to expire on August 10.