The Ghana Police Service says it has been difficult to enforce the Executive Instrument (EI164) which makes wearing of face masks compulsory with the aim of minimizing COVID-19 infections.
Speaking on GhanaWeb’s Election Desk, Superintendent Sheila Abayie-Buckman, Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, explained that whenever the police attempted to arrest any person who flouted the President’s directive under the law, the person suddenly pulled out a mask and put it on.
This, she said, indicates that everybody has the mask and she can not comprehend why people are not wearing it.
She stated that, it is important for the public to understand that “wearing of the mask is to protect yourself and protect others” adding that the police do what is expected of them “by attempting to arrest”.
“But when you arrest, you need [….] evidence to show that the person was not wearing [a] mask. But if you are in uniform like me and you approach to arrest and the person puts on the mask even before you get to the person, how are you going to produce the evidence to prove to the court that the person was not wearing the mask?” Superintendent Abayie-Buckman quizzed.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Sunday, September 20, 2020, in his 17th address to the nation on the COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana, extended by additional three months the compulsory wearing of face masks.
“On Monday, 14 September 2020, I extended the Executive Instrument of the mandatory wearing of face masks by three months. So until December 14, 2020, the wearing of masks remains mandatory. The law enforcement agencies will be required to ensure this directive is respected by all,” the President declared in that 17th coronavirus address.
“It has served us well in the fight against COVID-19, so I urge each and every one of us to wear our masks and do so correctly anytime we leave our homes. This is the new normal requirement of our daily existence until the virus disappears.”
According to paragraph 4(2) of E.I. 164, any person who fails to comply with the mandatory wearing of face masks shall be punished in accordance with Section 6 of Act 1012.
Per Section 6 of Act 1012, “a person who fails to comply with the restrictions imposed under the Executive Instrument issued under subsection 1 of Section 2 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 1,000 penalty units (GH¢12,000) and not more than 5,000 penalty units (GHS 60,000) or to a term of imprisonment not less than four years and not more than 10 years or to both.”