Failure to wear masks to be penalized in Latvia

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In future, if a person does not wear a mask in public places where it is mandatory, he/she may be fined up to 50 euros, according to the amendments to the law adopted by the government on October 20.

These amendments were proposed by Ministry of Justice (TM). The sanctions apply to cases where according to Cabinet regulations, mouth and nose covers are mandatory.

Currently, Cabinet regulations provide that, from 7 October to 6 November, on public transportation, drivers who are not separated by a physical barrier from passengers, as well as passengers, with the exception of children under the age of 13, shall use mouth and nose covers. Masks are now to be worn on taxis, too.

Similarly, from 14 October to 6 November, residents, with the exception of children under the age of 13, employees who are not separated from visitors by a physical barrier, shall use mouth and nose masks at culture and exhibition sites, trading venues and public transport services. Mouth and face covers should also be used in places where religious activity is carried out.

The Saeima still needs to adopt these amendments before they come in force, so for the time being people not complying with the regulations face only the censure of others or being asked to leave public transport by ticket inspectors.

Officials are also stressing that medical-type single-use masks or multi-use washable masks are the preferred choice, though any type of face and mouth covering, such as a shawl or scarf, is still acceptable.

The Latvian-language video above gives the Health Ministry's advice on face mask usage. 

Speaking on LTV Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš compared the wearing of facemasks in public to the wearing of hard hats by construction workers, pointing out that it was a sensible and necessary precaution that might not provide a 100 per cent guarantee of safety but greatly helped to reduce the dangers of an inherently dangerous situation.  

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