PM loosens alcohol rules despite two crashes

Tuesday April 28, 2020 Written by Published in Crime

Government has lifted the ban on large group gatherings and eased alcohol restrictions. 

Prime Minister Henry Puna said restrictions had played a key role in keeping Covid-19 out of the Cook Islands and its people safe. This marked “a turning point in our country’s battle against Covid-19”.

There had been a ministerial order limiting social gathering to 10 people, and restricting alcohol sales to 9am-4pm – now, alcohol can be sold until 6pm.

“Emergency restrictions are there to keep the country safe and they’ve done their job,” the prime minister said. 

“Stopping people do the things that are a normal part of life is not something we do lightly.

“It isn’t easy to stay away from the people you love – and I want to thank our people for rising to the challenge and doing their bit to keep the Cook Islands Covid-19 free.”

Police earlier warned against complacency, though, after issuing dozens of fines to drivers on Saturday night. 

There were two major vehicle crashes in the weekend and police are awaiting blood specimens to determine whether alcohol was involved.

On Saturday at 7am, a woman crashed her motorbike at the Takuvaine roundabout. Witnesses said she was bleeding around her face, and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

The other accident was an hour later, when a motorbike crashed into a white truck that reversed out onto the main road at Kavera. A witness said the bike driver was speeding.

Spokesperson Trevor Pitt said the Saturday morning crashes occurred an hour apart and both were taken to hospital.  

And in another driving related matter, a 17-year-old who failed to stop for police on Friday night. The teenager was pursued, caught and arrested at home- expected to appear in court this week.

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