T&T: Children over 8 can be fined if caught in public without face mask or parent

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said children over the age of eight who are found in a public space without a parent or guardian, and are not wearing face masks, can be fined under new legislation approved by government, LoopTT reports.

Speaking at a media briefing on August 31, 2020, Al-Rawi said as per the new public health regulations which outlines a fixed penalty notice for not wearing face masks in public, children over the age of eight who are seen in public or travelling in vehicles without a face mask, and without a parent or guardian to accompany them, can still be fined.

‘In this law in Regulation 6 and Regulation 7, we have provided that if a child is in the company of a parent or guardian (without a face mask), that person may be exposed to a fixed penalty.’

‘That child can be fined, if that child is on his own or her own and that child is over eight years of age, that child can be fined. If the child is on his or her own without a mask, your child can be fined via the fixed penalty notice position. You will go to the Children’s Court…and you’ll find yourself before the court to pay the penalty or in the remote ways via the Court Pay system.’

‘If you are in the company of your child, you’re a person with responsibility for that child….you can be exposed to the fine yourself.’

‘Let’s encourage from the home basis that all of us put on our masks, our face coverings or face shields when we go out into the public,’ he said.

Additionally, Al-Rawi said all enforcement officers must also wear face masks.

Al-Rawi said the fixed penalty notices were issued to the government printer to be distributed and in the meantime, officers were asked in the interim to educate the public on the measures and encourage them to comply.

He said it should take between a day to two days for officers to have the physical notices in their hands, however in the interim the law applies.

‘We need to comply with the law and to persons concerned with the TTPS or any other enforcement, they are obliged to wear masks as well.’

The question was raised after members of the public were stopped by officers who were allegedly not wearing face masks.

Under the new regulations, anyone caught by a police officer not wearing a face mask, without a reasonable excuse, is liable to a fine of up to $1,000.

Under reasonable excuse, there are exemptions for people with medical conditions, children under eight years of age, anyone fleeing from danger or where it is necessary for eating or drinking, among other things.

If someone has reason to challenge the decision they may also contest the fine in court.