Police patrols underway to ensure masks are being worn and being worn properly

As from today the wearing of face masks has become obligatory outside home. This was one of three measures announced by the Government yesterday to help curb the continued spreading of Coronavirus. Also from today enforcement has been stepped up with the support of four authorities while as from this coming Monday bars and clubs will have to close at 11 pm.

Authorities are insisting on the proper wearing of masks in an appropriate manner to cover the nose and nostrils, the mouth and the chin as well as the washing of hands before putting it on and after taking it off and that it should not be touched.

This morning we met a number of LESA Officials and Police carrying out patrols to assure that people are wearing masks outside, even though for the first week fines will not be inflicted. On public transport, in shops and in internal public places there is now an obligation for all to wear masks unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Only those children under the age of three are not obliged to wear masks and those that have special medical conditions such as respiratory or behaviour problems or otherwise have communications problems because they require being able to lip read. Masks may also not be worn if carrying out strenuous physical activities in a gym, during jogging and using a bicycle. It can be removed for a short while to enable identification in banks and the airport but then must promptly be properly worn. A mask may also be removed for facial treatment or while taking a medicine or which carrying out a service.

Otherwise, masks have to be worn by all and everywhere, in all streets and roads, in squares and at all places of work unless one is alone in an office. The Health Authorities said that when visiting a restaurant a mask may only be removed when seated and while eating. A mask may also be worn when a person is alone in a vehicle but is recommended to be worn is a passenger or passengers are not family members.

As from Monday all Primary School students have to wear masks at all times, including in classrooms, as is already being done in Secondary and Post-Secondary Schools. However, this does not apply in ChildCare Centres and at Kindergarten Level.

Enforcement is to be stepped up with the participation of four authorities, the Police, LESA, the Directorate for Environmental Health and the Tourism Authority. Those found without masks face a fine of €50 which may rise to €100 if not immediately paid. Fines will come into effect in eight days’ time thus giving space for all to absorb the new formalities. Authorities have not excluded this fine will be increased if regulations are not properly observed.