While the Tallinn Municipal Police (Mupo) will be checking compliance with the requirement to wear a face-mask on public transport, the force does not have the authority to issue fines to violators, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Tuesday night.
Mupo falls under the authority of Tallinn city government and is separate from the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA).
AK reported that one bus Tuesday daytime – the number 36, which runs from central Tallinn to the residential district of Õismäe – was carrying relatively few passengers, the bulk of whom were masked. Mupo personnel were shown distributing free masks to those who were not wearing one, in each case the individual accepted the offer.
Mupo spokesperson Kersti Matkur said: "We haven't been here for a very long time, but it can be said that we have already distributed about eight masks. In general, the picture is good, there are few who do not have masks."
Mupo inspector Olev Reilson told AK that noone had knocked back a free mask so far.
In any case, and unlike the era when Mupo would conduct ticket checks, passengers cannot be removed from a bus, tram or trolleybus for non-mask wearing (the legality of removing passengers who did not have their Tallinn transport card with them, as Mupo had frequently done in the past, is also debatable - ed.).
Mupo manager Aivar Toompere said refusing service: "Is viable for private entrepreneurs, either in a shopping mall or a store, meaning entry or service without a mask can be barred. However, there would need to be legislation for this to happen on a public service."
AK reported that it saw only a couple of travelers not wearing a mask, within the half-hour that it conducted its report, though a bus driver not so decked out immediately donned a mask when he spotted AK's cameras, the show reported.
Passengers not wearing a mask who were prepared to talk to AK gave the reasons that they had breathing difficulties when wearing one – a greater danger, they said, than the virus itself – or were medically exempt.
Editor: Andrew Whyte