Compulsory Wearing of Protective Masks Cancelled
March 31 (BTA) - Addressing a briefing here on Tuesday, Health Minister Kiril Ananiev said that the compulsory wearing of protective masks in outdoor and indoor public spaces is now cancelled. The measure was introduced on Monday as a means to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but due to the lack of public consensus on the matter the wearing of masks will remain only a recommendation, Ananiev explained.
The briefing was also attended by Interior Minister Mladen Marinov.
The State will purchase 1 million FFP2 or FFP3 protective masks that will be distributed among the regional services of the Labour and Social Policy Ministry, so as to reach socially disadvantaged persons and those who cannot buy a mask. The deliveries will probably take up to two weeks, Ananiev said.
If once again it becomes necessary to order the wearing of protective masks, the fine for failure to comply will be reduced, he specified. Under the Health Minister's order issued on Monday and rescinded on Tuesday, the fine was 5,000 leva.
Within 3 weeks the local production of protective clothing and masks will be predominant and Bulgaria will no longer be dependent on other countries, Ananiev said. All available masks are immediately distributed, with a priority being given to doctors, emergency medical care, regional health inspectorates, and the Interior Ministry's regional services.
He also said that parents who have to stay at home due to the closed creches and kindergartens, could take a paid or unpaid leave. Once this legal opportunity is exhausted, the assistance of another, healthy relative could be sought, Ananiev argued.
Interior Minister Marinov said that no one has been sanctioned for not wearing a mask. The police have issued 400 statements of violation of the ban on visits to parks and gardens and on gatherings of more than two adults. There have been a similar number of violations of the compulsory quarantine.
Talking about the possible tracking of traffic data on mobile devices, Marinov said that under the contingency legislation, in certain cases that measure could be applied when a given person refuses to observe quarantine. The procedure reveals the location of the tracked device's owner and that information is forwarded to the court within 24 hours; if further penal action is not authorized, the collected data is destroyed, Marinov explained.