Chennai: Amid rapid surge in Covid cases, the Tamilnadu government has increased from Rs 200 to Rs 500, the fine amount if people were found not wearing masks covering both the mouth and nose in public places.
A notification enhancing the fine amount was issued to ensure stricter compliance of wearing face masks as a majority of people were found moving in public places without wearing them posing a risk for virus spread.
State Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing were the key to prevent spread of Covid and the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
In view of the Covid pandemic, certain offences were declared as compoundable under the Tamilnadu Public Health Act, 1939, and not wearing of masks in public places was one of them.
Radhakrishnan said that till now, roughly about Rs 105 crore has been collected as fines for violations of Covid-19 norms in the State.
‘There is a genuine concern among people about the increase of Covid-19 cases and the basic requirement is to wear masks and maintain physical distancing norms’, he said.
Masking was a public health measure to prevent the spread of the disease, he said. This was why places such as Delhi had already increased the fine amount. ‘We found that despite monitoring and enforcement, the compliance was poor. So from now on, people can be fined if they do not wear masks properly.
Officers, including health inspectors, sanitary inspectors and police inspectors who are authorised to impose fines, have been told to collect the revised amount, he added.