Health Board: Punishment not first course of action for non-mask-wearing

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People wearing masks on the street in Tallinn. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Issuing a penalty is not the first course of action with people who do not wear a mask, the Health Board (Terviseamet) says.

Spokesman board Simmo Saar said: "What must be taken into consideration is that while the Health Board indeed conducts extra-judicial proceedings in terms of mask supervision, it does not focus on such proceedings and neither does it have the human resources required for it."

"The Health Board and the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) are cooperating in monitoring mask-wearing compliance and first and foremost, both we and the PPA want to advise and protect people. This means that punishment is far from being our first course of action," he went on.

"We understand that the obligation to wear a mask is new to people, and therefore getting used to it takes some time. We are very happy about people quickly embracing the habit of using a mask, and the number of people wearing a mask in stores far exceeds those not doing so."

"It must always be taken into consideration that a person may have a health reason for not wearing a mask - for instance if covering one's airways causes illness due to the person suffering from a chronic pulmonary disease, then they are not obligated to wear a mask. Naturally, this person is part of an at-risk group. In this case, we recommend that they maintain a distance from others and avoid crowded spaces."

At an e-sitting on Monday, the government approved additional coronavirus restrictions agreed the preceding Friday, to protect the health and lives of the public and prevent the health care system from getting overburdened. Wearing a mask in public indoor spaces has been mandatory since Tuesday, November 24.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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