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Face masks now required on all public transport in Latvia

October 7 sees the introduction of compulsory face coverings during journeys on all forms of public transport in Latvia including buses, trams, trains, trolleybuses and inter-city coaches.

Anecdotal evidence suggests initial take-up of the new rules on Wednesday morning was high, but those without masks can expect to receive first a warning from ticket inspectors and then being asked to leave the vehicle. Drivers of public transport vehicles have the right to refuse carriage to people not wearing masks, and in the case of a dispute, are empowered to call the police.

Several passengers gave their thoughts to LTV during its morning 'Panorama' news show.

Children under the age of 13 and persons with health conditions that prevent them from safely wearing a mask are exempt from the requirements, which will remain in force until November 6, at which point they will either be renewed as seems likely, or dropped if the epidemiological situation allows.

Health Minister Ile Viņķele was leading by example on Wednesday morning, posting a picture of herself aboard a Rīga tram.

"Masks don't bite, they protect. Others and the wearer. Glad that on tram number 1 the great majority of passengers are with masks," she wrote.

As well as the introduction of facemasks, the Transport Ministry reminded passengers to practice social distancing where possible, using alternate seats and as much space between individuals as circumstances allow.

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