The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has withdrawn its order mandating the wearing of masks by individuals driving alone in their private car. An order issued by the BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad on Monday said that such persons who are driving alone need not wear masks as long as their windows are rolled up. However, the same order clarified that two-wheeler users who are riding alone must wear masks.
Tuesdayâ€™s order came after the BBMP Commissioner had sought clarification from the Additional Chief Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Department on the same issue.
There was huge uproar online by city residents who criticised the move by the BBMP Commissionerâ€™s order issued last week, terming it unscientific. TNM has earlier reported that even the Union Health Ministry in September had announced that it was not necessary to wear masks while driving alone in a car.
In its order on Monday, the BBMP said the change in the guidelines regarding use of masks were reached based on the proceedings of a meeting held on Sunday by the Technical Advisory Committee of the state government. In the order issued on Monday the BBMP had said strict implementation of physical distancing and use of masks were necessary to keep the number of new cases low. It said that over the period of the last two months, the positivity rate of the state has come down from 12.79% in September to 9% in October.
At present, the police and BBMP marshals are issuing fines to those who violate the mask rule. In BBMP areas like other urban areas of the state, a fine of Rs 250 is slapped while people in rural areas are slapped a fine of Rs 100 for not complying with the COVID-19 rule.