Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam on Saturday instructed all Collectors to strictly enforce the use of face mask at public places and ensure physical distancing by penalising violators to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the State.
“In recent times, it has been noticed that there is a lack of discipline among the public in the use of face masks and maintaining social distance. Studies and observations in this regard have shown that the mask compliance is less than 30% in our State,” he said in his communication to the Collectors.
At many public places, including markets, shopping malls and marriage halls, and social and religious gatherings, the COVID-19 etiquette and standard operating procedure (SOP) were not being followed. Persons gathered in large numbers, without wearing masks, at many public places, creating an environment conducive to the super spreader, endangering the safety of others, he said.
“Therefore, the Collectors are instructed by the Chief Minister to enforce strict discipline in marriage halls or at such places and, as a deterrent measure, resort to the closure of such premises which are violating the SOP. The individual persons who are not using masks and also the owner of the marriage hall and the parties who are organising the marriages but not observing the SOP should be penalised, if needed, to enforce strict discipline,” Mr. Shanmugam said.
Similarly, in shopping malls, workplaces, factories and shops, accountability should be fixed on the owners, he said. “Strict enforcement of the SOP is required in these places through close monitoring. The Collectors should also keep in mind that the ensuing monsoon season and the winter are expected to further trigger the disease spread and may become a big challenge in controlling COVID-19…, as seen in certain other States.”
If such measures were not taken, all the gains made so far would be vitiated, he noted, instructing the Collectors to gear up the competent authorities and strictly enforce the discipline at public places, workplaces and all other places, where the SOP had been put in place, to levy the penalty in case of violations.