Public transport will not be able to accommodate passengers without masks, while passengers who do not wear masks will be able to disembark outside, if necessary, also involving the police, according to regulations approved by the government on Tuesday.
Earlier, the government decided that face masks will be mandatory in public transport throughout Latvia from Wednesday, October 7. Covering the face with a scarf or shawl is not effective, so there is a requirement to wear medical or hygienic masks, as well as face shields in public transport, the Minister of Health added. A protective mask will not be mandatory for children under 13 years of age. An exception will be people who find it difficult to wear a protective mask due to health.
Minister of Transport Tālis Linkaits (New Conservative Party) informed that the regulations will give the right to drivers of public transport not to pick up or disembark passengers driving without a mask.
Regional passenger carriers will have to make sure that passengers have masks when boarding, and if they do not have a mask and the passenger refuses to wear it, they will not be picked up.
If the picked up passenger does not use the mask later, he will have the right to disembark him. If this is not done voluntarily, the police will be able to be called.
Controllers and conductors in the vehicles where they are will also have the right to control the use of masks.
Minister of Health Ilze Hänķele (“For Development / Par!”) Also called for an administrative penalty for not using masks, because it is “certain that we will have to live in the shadow of Covid-19 for at least half a year”, and discipline is also needed.
In addition, the penalties would make life easier for the controllers, who will not be able to tell every Covid-19 denier that the mask is for his own benefit, Nikele said.
Kariņš called on the responsible working group of the State Chancellery to prepare a solution for the introduction of penalties and determination of the amount of penalties, so that it would be ready, and then the government would have a question whether and when to implement it.
Kariņš reiterated that if everyone wears masks, the transmission of the virus is difficult, which is important because the government wants “not to close the economy, but to introduce security measures so that people protect themselves and their loved ones”.
In Latvia, the emergency situation announced on March 12 to control the new coronavirus ended on June 10. The virus is still circulating and there is no medicine or vaccine against it. Certain restrictions still apply to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
The situation was stable during the summer, but at the end of September the incidence rose sharply, and the 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population exceeded 25 cases.
In response to the spread of the disease, the government decided that face masks will be mandatory on public transport from October 7, with the exception of children under 13 and people with health problems. The government also calls on everyone to work remotely as much as possible.
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