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Naples region hits businesses with €1,000 fines for not wearing masks

Three businesses in the southern Italian city of Salerno, south of Naples, are the first to fall foul of tough new anti-coronavirus regulations imposed by regional authorities, local media reported Sunday.

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The three businesses, which include a bar and a hairdresser, were hit with 1,000-euro ($1,166) fines after police found they had not respected an edict imposed by the Campania region on Friday that requires people to wear masks in enclosed public spaces. 

“If our fellow citizens think that the problem is resolved, that means that within a few weeks we will return to a grave emergency,” Vincenzo De Luca, the president of Campania, posted on Facebook on Friday.

“We knew that there would be an increase in contamination, it was widely expected,” he said, a few hours before the publication of an order toughening the rules to fight against Covid-19.

The key measure of the text is a fine of 1,000 euros for anyone who does not wear a mask in an enclosed space, whether in public buildings, supermarkets, bars, restaurants, shops or on public transport.

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According to the new regulations, “transport operators are required to deny access to passengers who do not wear a mask”. 

If they are on board, they must be sanctioned and “invited to disembark immediately or as soon as possible”. If they refuse, “the bus or train will be blocked” and the “intervention of the police will be requested”.

Businesses can be held responsible if the offence is committed on their premises “during a commercial transaction”.

On top of a 1,000-euro fine, businesses could be forced to close for a duration of five to 30 days. 

Italy was the first country in Europe to be affected by coronavirus. More than 35,000 people have died and there have been over 242,000 cases of contamination, most of them in the country’s wealthier north. 

Other countries have imposed similar restrictions amid signs of an uptick in virus circulation, with France this week introducing fines of 135 euros for people who do not wear a mask in public spaces indoors.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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