Mask rule violators to face fines in S.Korea

Violators of face mask mandate in South Korea may face fines starting Friday as the country seeks to better combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

The move follows an end to a 30-day grace period for the implementation of the country’s revised infectious disease control and prevention act, which requires people to wear face masks on mass transportation and in public places, Yonhap news agency reported.

People will face a fine of up to 100,000 won (about US$90) if they do not wear masks on public transportation and at demonstrations, as well as medical, religious and care facilities.

Operators of those facilities and rally organizers will be fined up to 3 million won for failing to ensure that users or participants stick to the requirement.

However, people aged under 14 and those who are unable to wear masks due to medical conditions will be exempted from fines. People will also be allowed to skip masks in special cases, such as when they are washing their faces, eating or swimming.

The fine could also be imposed on people who wear masks under their noses in such places. Scarves or certain types of masks that cannot protect others from the virus will not be allowed.

Public places subject to the obligation will hinge on levels under South Korea’s five-tier social distancing scale.

South Korea’s new coronavirus cases hovered above 100 for a fourth day Wednesday, adding 146 more Covid-19 cases. The country’s total caseload came to 27,799 with the death toll reaching 487.

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