Chandigarh Admin brings back masks, to fine violators Rs 500


The Chandigarh Administration on Monday made use of face masks mandatory. Its violation will invite a fine of Rs 500.

An order issued by the Chandigarh Adviser stated that use of face masks would be mandatory in closed environments.

The order issued by the Adviser said, “The undersigned in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in my capacity as Chairperson, State Executive Committee, State Disaster Management authority hereby orders that wearing of face mask shall be compulsory in the closed environment like public transport like buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws etc, cinema halls, shopping malls, departmental stores, shops.”

It was added that all educational institutions like colleges, schools, coaching centres, library, all government and private offices, all types of indoor gatherings will have use of face mask mandatory.

“The undersigned further directs that every violation of non-wearing of mask shall be punishable by imposing a fine of Rs 500 (five hundred). Non-payment of the fine by the violators will attract proceedings under Section 188 of Indian Penal Code,” he stated.

The UT Adviser also issued directions to the officers who shall be responsible for implementing these directions.

“Every officer designated below shall be responsible for implementing these directions which includes Additional/Joint Commissioners, Municipal Corporation, Tehsildar and Naib Tehsildar, Medical Officer of Health, Municipal Corporation, Medical officer as designated by Director Health & Family Welfare, Station House Officers and any other officer/official specifically designated by Deputy Commissioner from time to time,” the orders specified.

It was also clearly stated that this order shall come into force with immediate effect and will be applicable until further orders.

Cases in Chandigarh are seeing a spike, with nine new Covid positive cases being reported on Monday and the total number of active cases being 41. “Wearing a face mask not only helps you but the people surrounding you too,” said Dr Vikas Bhutani, director of Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

When someone coughs, talks, sneezes, he\she could release germs into the air that may infect others nearby. Masks, added Dr Bhutani, will help avert the spread of infection and prevent the individual from contracting any airborne infectious germs. “Masks also prevent transmission of disease to others and this is their most important use for society and your duty as a responsible citizen. Face masks are also part of an infection control strategy to eliminate cross-contamination,” he said.

Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, recommends that you wear masks in public settings, especially when people around you who don’t live in your household and when you can’t stay six feet away from others. Masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 or any other airborne infection to others. “But my advice is to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth, and secures it under your chin and a mask which fits snugly against the sides of your face.”

Face masks, said Dr Sandeep Chhatwal, Internal Medicine Specialist, are part of an infection control strategy called ‘source control’. Wearing a face mask helps prevent the spread of infection and protects the individual from contracting any airborne infectious germs. When someone coughs, speaks, or sneezes they could release germs into the air that may infect others nearby. Transmission of infection is possible not only from those who are symptomatic but also both in pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic people. At a community level, wearing masks slows down the growth rate of infection. Also, the quantum of viral load in case infection occurs is less in those who wear a mask. This contributes to a lower need for hospitalisation and lower mortality.