Less than a week after the Karnataka government issued orders to increase the fine for not wearing masks in public places up to Rs 1,000 in urban areas and Rs 500 in rural areas, the amount has been brought down drastically. In an order issued by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday, the fine amounts have been revised to Rs 250 in urban areas and Rs 100 in rural areas, citing public outrage over the high fine amounts.
The order said, “Due to public outrage, the government consulted with experts, and the fine for not wearing masks in public has been reduced from Rs 1,000 in urban areas to Rs 250 and from Rs 500 in rural areas to Rs 100. This will come into effect immediately.”
The order added, “As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ‘life and livelihood’ are equally important and in this view, the government is making all efforts to ensure public safety. I urge the residents of the state to voluntarily wear masks, use sanitisers and maintain physical distance in public places.”
The order mandating fine of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 was issued by Chief Secretary Vijay Bhaskar as part of revised Unlock 5.0 guidelines on October 2 after the Medical Education Minister had announced the decision of hiking the fine in wake of rising daily COVID-19 cases.
Even on Tuesday, Karnataka had recorded a high number of COVID-19 cases at 9,993, with 5,012 cases being reported from Bengaluru itself. With this, the number of active cases in Karnataka is 1,15,151, while it is 55,736 in Bengaluru.
The Medical Education Minister had cited that the state will not allow large-scale celebrations with Dasara coming up (on October 25) and issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to contain the coronavirus spread. People of vulnerable categories — those above 65 years of age, people with comorbidities, pregnant women and children less than 10 years have been advised to stay at home.