Police checking face-mask requirement in indoor public spaces

PPA officer's high-vis vest.
PPA officer's high-vis vest. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is checking compliance with the requirement to wear face-masks in public indoor spaces such as shopping malls. The authority says it has conducted close to 2,000 such checks nationwide in the past week.

The PPA says that in general, however, compliance has been good since the requirement was reintroduced last Thursday.

PPA spokesperson Tago Trei said that: "Until now, we checked the wearing of masks in public transport and at worship services. While monitoring these places, we have seen that most people comply with the established restrictions."

"I believe that in a situation where infection rates are high, people understand the need for restrictions in other public indoor spaces as well," Trei added, noting that the requirement for mask-wearing on public transport, including ferries, remained in place.

The face-mask rule on public transport has been in place for several weeks.

Non-compliance will be responded to with a caution in the first instance, Trei went on.

He said: "If the police have reason to believe that the person is knowingly violating this requirement, it is possible to issue a verbal warning and, depending on the violation, also launch proceedings."

The PPA has the authority to issue fines of up to €400 for non-compliance.

The PPA will also dole out disposable masks to the public in such cases.

Most issues so far related to larger gatherings, Trei added.

"Last weekend showed that most of them checked the infection safety certificates correctly. We noticed problems in a few places and one public event in Tallinn, which we are currently checking regarding the circumstances," Trei added.

Event organizers or business owners are also liable for a fine in the case of non-compliance with restrictions, Trei added.

In the past week, the PPA has monitored compliance with coronavirus restrictions in 1,847 cases nationwide, BNS reports, with 887 of these on public transport, 714 in stores, 129 in other indoor public spaces, 66 at entertainment venues, 26 at public events and 25 at places of worship.

The PPA reported around an 85 percent compliance rate with the mask-wearing restriction, BNS reports, and logged conversations on the topic with 2,462 members of the public, handing out masks to nearly 2,000 people.

Tago Trei noted the checks occur in those indoor public spaces where coronavirus safety checks are not a requirement, such as stores, pharmacies and post offices.

Public events such as concerts and theater performances must check all participants' coronavirus vaccine or recent negative test result certificates, and the PPA is also checking compliance with this requirement.

The PPA and the Health Board liaise on a weekly basis on their supervision, BNS reports, and respond to reports of issues.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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