Persons who spit in public places, refuse to wear masks or cover their face while venturing out of their homes will henceforth face fines if caught in the act by authorities. So would citizens who fail to maintain a minimum physical distance of six feet or 1.8 m.
The State government has declared any violation of the social code for preventing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a compoundable offence as per a notification issued by Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on July 3.
The new set of Kerala Epidemic Disease Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) Regulations gives more teeth to law enforcement to crack down on social behaviour that could potentially increase the risk of transmission of the pandemic. The regulation would remain in force for one year or until notified otherwise.
The current rules came against the backdrop of the decision to re-impose triple lockdown regulations in localities which registered a worrying surge in new cases.
Curbs in place
The government has leaned on the rules to impose severe restrictions on mobility and retail trade in Thiruvananthapuram and Ponnani in Malappuram till July 12 following alarming reports that the regions risked local transmission.
The regulations have placed strict limits on political action.
Henceforth, processions, dharnas, demonstrations, public meetings, congregations and social gatherings would require the prior written permission of the district administration.
Moreover, the government has stipulated that not more than 10 people could participate in any social event or political demonstration. The participants should wear masks and maintain the minimum mandatory physical distance from each other.
Not exceeding 20
The number of people in a shop or commercial establishment should not exceed 20 at a time.
The floor area of the establishment and the 1.8 m physical distance yardstick would define the calculus for determining the number of customers allowed into a shop.
Failure on the part of the management to provide hand sanitisers at the entrance would attract fines.
The regulations have given legal sanctity to the State’s decision to allow only people who have registered themselves with the COVID-19 Jagrata e-platform to enter Kerala from within the country or abroad.
The State had earlier disagreed with the Centre’s directive to allow free inter-State and intra-State travel without any permit or prior notification.