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Italians face €1,000 fines for breaking face mask rules


Not wearing a face mask in an enclosed space can lead to a fine of €1,000 in Campania, Italy, after tougher sanctions were put in place to curb the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

The first €1,000 fines were issued on Saturday to the owners of three businesses in the southern town of Salerno, including a bar and a hairdressing salon, the Italian press reported on Sunday.

“If our fellow citizens think the problem has been fixed, that means that within a few weeks we’ll go back to a tough emergency,” Campania Governor Vincenzo de Luca had warned.

“We knew there would be a spike in infections, it was largely predicted,” he said on Facebook on Friday, hours before an administrative order toughening coronavirus measures was issued.

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Masks are compulsory in enclosed areas, whether public buildings, supermarkets, bars, restaurants, businesses and public transport.

According to the ordinance, “transport operators are bound to refuse to let in passengers not wearing masks.” If already on board, they will be sanctioned and “invited to disembark immediately or as soon as possible.” Should they refuse, “the bus or train will be blocked” and the law enforcement officers will be asked to intervene.”

“If the offence was committed in the exercise of a business activity” by the owner or one of his/her employees, the establishment could be punished, in addition to the fine, by the “closure of the business for 5 to 30 days.” That penalty could be doubled for repeat offenders.

Italy has been hard hit by the epidemic, with over 35,000 deaths and more than 242,000 infections.

The virus seems to have been kept in check, although 275 new cases and five deaths in 24 hours were announced on Saturday.

The Brussels Times

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