A Cayman Islands judge on Tuesday reduced the sentences handed down to a Georgia teenager and her boyfriend after they admitted to violating the island’s quarantine requirement amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to WSB-TV.
Four-month sentences handed down last week to 18-year-old Skylar Mack, of Loganville, Georgia, and 24-year-old Vanjae Ramgeet, of the Cayman Islands, were reduced to two-month sentences on Tuesday, WSB reported, citing an appellate court ruling.
Authorities said Mack was supposed to quarantine for 14 days after she arrived Nov. 27 in the Cayman Islands, but she broke quarantine after just two days to watch Ramgeet compete in a jet ski race, WSB reported.
“They weren’t wearing any masks,” Cayman Island journalist Andrel Harris said, according to WSB. “She wasn’t wearing (a required electronic monitoring bracelet), and they weren’t observing social distancing or several major protocols that were part of our COVID-19 suppression measures.”
The couple was charged with violating the country’s COVID-19 measures, a charge that carries a $12,000 fine and up to two years in prison, The Associated Press reported. The couple’s attorney, Jonathan Hughes, told the AP last week that he planned to argue for a lesser sentence.
“They’re two young people who have never been in trouble before,” he said.
WSB reported Mack and Ramgeet were initially ordered to pay a fine and serve 40 hours of community service, but their sentences were bumped up after prosecutors appealed.
Skylar Mack’s grandmother, Jeanne Mack, told WSB that she felt prosecutors were trying to make an example of her granddaughter, calling her “the last person that this would happen to.” She said her granddaughter tested negative for COVID-19 before she broke quarantine.
“The fact that this could happen to a kid like her is scary to me,” she said. She added, “Four months for breaching isolation while testing negative is a bit much.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a negative COVID-19 test is not enough to prove that you are not contagious with the viral infection.
“You may test negative if the sample was collected early in your infection and test positive later during this illness,” according to the CDC. “Even if you test negative, you still should take steps to protect yourself and others.”