Is it fine or not: Dilemma of #MandatoryMask returns!

Published on Aug 13, 2022 07:32 PM IST

Wearing a face mask in public places has yet again been made mandatory in Delhi. Failure to do so shall invite a fine of ₹500, which is getting mixed reactions from residents. Some Delhiites share their opinions on the same.

After the positivity rate crossed 17% in Delhi, authorities have brought back the mandatory mask rule with a fine of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>500. (Photo: Raj K Raj/HT (Photo for representational purposes only))
After the positivity rate crossed 17% in Delhi, authorities have brought back the mandatory mask rule with a fine of 500. (Photo: Raj K Raj/HT (Photo for representational purposes only))
ByKaran Sethi, New Delhi

It has been made mandatory, yet again, to wear face mask in public places. Inability to do so shall invite a fine of 500! Though this recent order by the Delhi Government comes at the right time to ensure the safety of public health, but it has induced mixed reactions from Delhiites.

While some welcome the decision, there are a few who feel a better balance must be struck when imposing such a fine. “I am all for it. If there’s anything we have learned since the pandemic first struck is that you can never be too safe especially considering how overly populated Delhi is,” says Abhishek Chhoker, who works as an operations manager at an FMCG manufacturing firm. He elucidates, “I always make it a point to wear a mask at my workplace. There is nothing worse than being caught unaware. It’s hard to tell whether the person sitting next to you has any symptoms of the virus. So even if the authorities are not issuing me a fine, I’m still almost always cautious.”

“All I am worried about ki is time pe jab colleges khule huye hain, mera fine na hojaye,” says Kshitij Raja, final-year student of Ramjas College, adding, “I usually wear a mask whenever out in a public place, but sometimes when hanging out with friends on campus you do forget about wearing it all the time. To be honest, for us students, even one such fine of 500 will mean like a significant chunk of our pocket money. It’s sure going to hurt if it happens!”

Having similar thoughts about being forced to shell out money from her budget, Simranjeet Kaur, a homemaker, opines that there needs to be some leniency when it comes to who will be fined. “I do understand we need such regulations to ensure the menace of Covid does not return to haunt us. Asking people to #MaskUp is a step in the right direction. But I think its not as straightforward as it seems because if I am just going to a nearby store to buy essentials and forget my mask for once, I don’t think it would be fair to fine me straightaway! But yes, if I am out for a long period of time and in a crowded place, then it makes sense.”

The recent regulation has invited mixed reactions from Delhiites. (Photo: Atul Yadav/PTI (For representational purpose only))
The recent regulation has invited mixed reactions from Delhiites. (Photo: Atul Yadav/PTI (For representational purpose only))

These opinions also take one back to the debate of whether or not masks can protect one from the grasp of the virus. Talking about the same, Dr Rachna Kucheria, physician, MD, MPH Epidemiology, says, “Covid has now entered an endemic state, with a milder variant. Therefore isolation and 100% masking are no longer the public health strategies to manage it... There is no black and white. I believe it should not be coercive and certainly in outdoor places, which is the place of least risk; masks need not be mandatory. Having said that, in crowded indoor places, people should be prudent. Those who have to go out and work and are having symptoms, should definitely be wearing a mask to protect the other more vulnerable sections. But education is more important that coercion.” Ask which mask is the best and Dr Kucheria shares, “The best are fish tested N-95 masks, which is what doctors wear. The other masks such as the surgical or three ply masks, will prevent you against large droplet infection but might not always provide a 100% guarantee.”

Author tweets @karansethi042

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