Despite implementing a mandatory policy requiring all residents to wear protective face masks at all times when in public, Health Minister Carvin Malone opted not to wear one while addressing a roomful of media personnel on Tuesday.
The minister was observed wearing a mask up to the point of approaching the podium to speak but proceeded to take it off to deliver his address, which lasted just under 20 minutes.
“Good afternoon everyone,” Malone began. “If you don’t mind, I will shift my mask. I see the Permanent Secretary looking at me with eyes,” he said lightheartedly.
Throughout Malone’s presentation, Premier Andrew Fahie — who was standing a few feet away on the same platform — did not give any visible cues for the minister to keep the mask on.
However, a reporter who later attempted to shift his mask to ask questions was swiftly corrected by the Premier.
“You put back on your mask, firstly. Thank you. You leave that mask on—good,” the Premier said while addressing the reporter representing BVI News.
Notably, when the question-and-answer segment of the press conference began, Minister Malone had already returned to wearing his mask. He did not remove it to respond to questions or for the remainder of the event.
And except for one other reporter who momentarily shifted their mask to ask a question, all other persons in the room including Chief Medical Officer Dr Irad Potter, CEO of the BVI Health Services Authority Dr Ronald Georges, the Premier, and members of the media kept their masks on throughout the entire conference.
Premier strict with mask wearing policy
Since enacting the various COVID-19 preventative policies to help combat any potential spread of the virus locally, the Fahie administration has been strict with the wearing of masks in public.
In a previous address on what he termed as ‘the new regular’ in the BVI, Premier Fahie instructed businesses not serve any customer or client who does not wear a mask.
“No mask, no service,” the Premier insisted at the time.
He has further instructed residents to wear a mask even when commuting in their private vehicle if other persons are travelling with them.
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