Government agrees to drop face coverings on public transport

The Latvian government on June 30 gave further tweaks to the current anti- COVID-19 rules, agreeing to a Health Ministry proposal to dispense with compulsory face coverings on public transport.

LTV reported that a cabinet meeting had agreed to drop the requirement -- which had in any case been widely ignored. From July 1 it will no longer be required to wear coverings for nose and mouth on public transport.

Further amendments to the Regulations "Epidemiological precautions to limit the spread of Covid-19 infection" provide that up to 3,000 people will be able to gather at outdoor events from August instead of 1,000, as previously agreed.

Meanwhile, caterers will be allowed to reduce the minimum floor space they are required to provide per client. Under the present Covid-19 rules, caterers are required to provide at least four square meters per person in indoor establishments. This will be reduced to three square meters per person.

Speaking remotely after the online government meeting, Health Minister Ilze Viņķele confirmed the changes.

"That now is cancelled but I invite people to continue using masks... but it is not obligatory," Viņķele said, while warning that an increase in the number of infections could lead to the measure being re-introduced. However, she also admitted that enforcing compulsory use of face masks was difficult.

"I want to remind people that the world pandemic has not ended," she added, again saying that while Latvia had handled the pandemic better than many other countries, a deterioration in the epidemiologocal situation could lead to restrictions that have been dispensed with being brought back.

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