Facemasks made mandatory in Lithuania as of Saturday

The Lithuanian government decided on Wednesday to reintroduce the requirement to wear facemasks in shops and public transport as of Saturday in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’ll ask the public to wear masks in indoor public spaces, including retail and services points, and public transport,” Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius said at the Cabinet’s meeting on Wednesday.

Face masks will not be mandatory in cafes or restaurants, nor during sporting or cultural events.

“The situation in Lithuania and internationally is deteriorating, the number of infections is growing,” Jankevičius, who is standing in for Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga, told the cabinet.

The government is not planning to close down businesses again, he stressed.

The requirement will take effect on Saturday to give time for businesses and people to prepare, but everyone is strongly recommended to start wearing facemasks now, according to the minister.

Wearing facemasks was mandatory during the nationwide quarantine that was introduced in March. The quarantine was lifted in mid-June and wearing facemasks has been only a recommendation since then.

Enforcement by police

The police have said they will work with retailers and security companies to enforce the requirement to wear facemasks.

“We have the right to issue protocols of administrative breaches, but we believe that we need to work more closely with businesses so that they follow those procedures,” Police Commissioner General Renatas Požela told BNS on Wednesday.

“We’ll be working with […] shops and security companies that bear direct responsibility,” he added.

Police give priority to outdoor public places, he noted, however.

Under the Code of Administrative Offences, fines for breaking the rules range from 500 to 1,500 euros for private individuals and from 1,500 to 6,000 euros for businesses.