The police have arrested 24 people at various points in the Greater Accra Region for allegedly flouting the Presidential directive on the closure of pubs, night clubs, drinking spots and bars as part of measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
This follows increased patrols around such facilities, including beaches in the region, to enforce the restrictions on social activities.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Accra Regional Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mrs Effia Tenge, disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday.
She said the ongoing operation, which started last Monday, had so far been carried out in areas such as Osu, James Town, Kokrobite, Madina, La, Tesano, Odorkor and Korle Bu.
Those arrested included Heliwan Bilal, the Manager of the Shisha Lounge Night Club at Osu, which was opened and crowded with more than 50 patrons.
Mrs Tenge said the suspect had been charged with failing to comply with COVID-19 restrictions, offensive conduct and assault of a public officer because he tried to resist arrest.
The Tesano Divisional Police, she said, also arrested Isaac Asamoah, a member of staff of the National Investigations Bureau, who is alleged to have prevented the police from gaining entry into a pub at Abelemkpe.
In all, the Tesano Police arrested 23 people, made up of 21 men and two women, at a number of drinking spots visited for failing to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols.
There was drama at some of the places the police visited during the operation, as some of the operators and their patrons took to their heels on seeing the police, in the process kicking tables and breaking chairs, bottles and glasses, Mrs Tenge said.
While some of the operators and the patrons of night clubs and drinking spots met the police with resistance, others who were complying with the protocols were sensitised to the laws and how to observe the safety protocols.
Mrs Tenge said the sensitisation was part of efforts to ensure voluntary compliance with the new restrictions.
“The operation is the first of our proactive initiatives to spot check all night clubs, drinking spots and other social centres to ensure full compliance with the new directives and enforce the COVID-19 protocols,” she said.
To stem the spread of the virus, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reimposed restrictions on some daily routines, following a wave of upsurge in COVID-19 cases.
They include funerals, weddings, concerts, theatrical performances and parties.
“Beaches, night clubs, cinemas and pubs continue to be shut. Our borders by land and sea remain closed,” the President further announced.
He also directed that all workplaces, public and private, “must employ a shift-system for workers, in addition to the use of virtual platforms for business or work”.
Mrs Tenge told the Daily Graphic that because of the rise in COVID-19 cases in all the 14 divisions under the regional command, the police had been directed to embark on the special operations to ensure that the establishments were complying with the new restrictions.
She said the law enforcement agency was ensuring that night clubs and drinking spots were closed, while the guidelines on safety were being followed.
She said the Osu Police Patrol team, on its monitoring duties to enforce the COVID-19 protocols in the wee hours of yesterday, found that the Shisha Lounge Night Club had opened and was crowded with more than 50 patrons.
She said when Heliwan Bilal was questioned as to why his facility was opened, he took offence.
Mrs Tenge said Mr Bilal and some patrons of the club allegedly resisted vehemently and the police had to use a pepper spray before they could overpower the owner and the patrons.
She cautioned the public against obstructing the police in their lawful duties.
The police also swooped in on Royal Embassy Ayaata at James Town, where about six patrons took to their heels on seeing the police.
At Kokrobite, the police closed nine places and arrested the operator of a drinking spot, known as Freeman Spot.
The La Patrol team found that the La Pleasure Beach and the Laboma Beach had blocked their entrances with boards and tyres.
The police had a tough time turning away some persons who tried to enter some beaches, with the excuse of going to patronise the restaurants at the beaches.
Six spots, pubs and bars under the Korle Bu Divisional Police Command were closed down during the exercise.
They are the Double Bell Spot, the Bleoobu Spot and Bar, Paradise Spot, Assabi Spot, Boys to Men Spot and Met Kwazt Pub.
Mrs Tenge said operations by the Odorkor Divisional Police and the Madina Divisional Police found that most of the operators had complied with the presidential directive.