V.I. Attorney General Denise George is reminding residents that those who willfully violate emergency executive orders and directives of the Bryan administration during the declared state of emergency can face criminal consequences.

Penalties can include arrest and prosecution under Virgin Islands law, according to a Justice Department statement Monday.

“These executive orders carry the weight of law and must be obeyed,” George said in the statement.

V.I. Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion, as the designated incident commander, has the power and authority to enforce health regulations providing for quarantine, isolation and other appropriate measures.

Persons known to have the virus who willfully violate the directives as determined by the Health commissioner can be criminally charged, according to George.

During this emergency, all territorial peace officers have been deputized and are operating under the direction of both Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. and Encarnacion.

Those who willfully expose the public to the virus can be fined up to $200, imprisoned for up to a year, or both.

The same punishment is slated for anyone who disobeys the lawful orders of any police officer.

Additionally, any business operating outside of the requirements imposed by the executive orders can face administrative fines imposed by the V.I. Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, as well as revocation of their business license.

“It is essentially a matter of life and death,” George said. “Strict adherence to the dictates of the governor’s executive orders and directives of the Virgin Islands Health commissioner is mandatory. If every individual and business throughout the territory complies, this horrific pandemic may speedily pass so that life may return to normal in our community.”