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Latest mask fines: updates from Portugal, Italy, South Korea and Vietnam

Portugal: On 23 October, the President of the Republic approved the mandatory use of a mask to access or stay in public spaces and roads, the rule will apply to everyone over the age of ten, although there are exemptions for people who are part of the same family, or upon presentation of a medical certificate certifying that their clinical condition does not permit the use of the mask. The inspection is the responsibility of the security forces and the municipal police and failure to use a mask constitutes an infraction, sanctioned with a fine between €100 and €500.

Italy: In an update to the existing emergency, wearing a mask in Italy will become obligatory whenever you leave your home, at all times of the day and in all parts of the country as new cases prevail.The government has also raised the fines for refusing to wear a mask to between €400 and €1,000, with police patrols deployed to check that people are complying.

Vietnam: In November, Vietnam will increase fines for not wearing a mask. Last week, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc enforced the regulations to penalize those not wearing masks in public places. A draft law being prepared by the Ministry of Health would increase the fines from VND100,000–300,000 to VND1–3 million, it would apply to people in public areas such as transportation terminals and supermarkets as enforced by local authorities.

South Korea: Starting 13 November, South Korea will impose a fine on people who fail to wear face masks in public spaces, , they will face a fine of up to 100,000 won ($85.50). The obligation will be exempted for people aged under 14 and those who are unable to wear masks due to medical conditions.

Key Questions

  1. Why do you think authorities are enforcing masks in public?

  2. Do you think the fines are justified? If not, what solution would you recommend?

  3. Why do you think some groups are protesting the enforcement of masks in public? Do you think they are right to do so?

  4. Who do you think that this mandatory mask law should not be applied for?

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