Action taken against 207 establishments for violating HPA guidelines

Health Protection Agency (HPA) has stated action has been taken against 207 establishments during the third round of mass public health inspection carried out in the Greater Male’ Region.

HPA has been inspecting establishments in the capital to ensure compliance to the health and safety guidelines when providing its services. The third round of the mass public health inspection was carried out from August 25 to September 13.

Speaking to PSM News, Director at the Ministry of Health Ahmed Nasir revealed 2,900 establishments were inspected in the Greater Male’ Region during the third inspection round, including 2,420 establishments in Male’, 416 establishments in Hulhumale’ and 64 establishments in Villimale’. Nasir said action was taken against 207 establishments for violating HPA guidelines, including 182 establishments in Male’, 23 establishments in Hulhumale’ and 2 establishments in Villimale’. He noted the establishments which were fined or temporarily closed include 93 shops, 83 cafes and restaurants and 31 salons.

Speaking further, the director said violations identified from shops include the lack of safety information which must be displayed to customers and exceeding the limit of customers allowed inside the shop. He added several salons were fined for not wearing goggles and face shield when serving customers, while several cafes and restaurants were also fined for violating the guidelines on wearing face masks.

The mass public health inspection is carried out by HPA in collaboration with Maldives Police Service (MPS). Speaking to PSM News, Chief Inspector of Police Rahuma Saeed said several food outlets were found serving customers beyond the permitted hours, despite displaying a closed sign. She also noted several cafes and restaurants had served Shisha to customers or allowed smoking, despite the ban on smoking inside the premises of food outlets.

The chief inspector said establishments which violate the guidelines are temporarily closed, after which the violations are usually corrected without delay in order to reopen. She said all of the establishments which were temporarily closed during the third round of the inspection have been allowed to reopen after the issues were corrected. However, she noted 4 establishments were fined USD 65 and had their closure extended for repeat violations.

HPA carried out the first round of the mass inspection on July 12, as part of efforts to observe the level of compliance to COVID-19 control measures by shops, cafes, restaurants, salons and other establishments which serve the public. During the first round, 1,390 establishments were inspected although no action was taken against any of the establishments.

The second round of the inspection was carried out from July 29 to August 8, with stricter measures imposed against establishments violating safety guidelines. A total of 1,545 establishments were inspected during the second round, of which 258 establishments were closed for violating safety guidelines.