The Karnataka government on Wednesday revised the fines for violations of mask rules to be levied against owners of establishments like party halls, shopping centres and departmental stores to Rs 10,000. Earlier, an order by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had suggested that owners of establishments can be fined up to Rs 1 lakh by BBMP marshals and health officials for allowing customers into their establishments without masks.
The BBMP's order, which was issued on Saturday, covered restaurants, malls, theatres, small roadside eateries, departmental stores and even organisers of public events and rallies.
In an order issued by the state health department on Wednesday, the fines were revised to Rs 10,000 for owners of air conditioned party halls, departmental stores, branded shops, shopping malls, hotels (3 stars or above) and marriage halls. The same fine extended to public conventions, rallies, and birthdays while non air-conditioned party hall and departmental store owners face a fine of up to Rs 5000.
The state health department also stated that those driving alone in a car with windows open also need to wear masks mandatorily.
The Karnataka government is also considering restricting outdoor gatherings during Christmas and New Year in the state. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with members of the Karnataka COVID-19 technical advisory committee, Health Minister Sudhakar said that a committee report on COVID-19 strongly suggests stopping mass gathering of any forms to prevent an increase in coronavirus cases over the winter period.
"As per the committee recommendations, people should stop mass gathering. Only 100 people will be allowed to attend the weddings, not more than 200 people will be allowed in religious gatherings and only 50 people allowed in cremation. Hospitals will also be kept ready," he said.