Fact Check: Yes, failing to wear mask in public is criminal offence

Fact Check: Yes, failing to wear mask in public is criminal offence

- A number of new lockdown regulations were recently announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa

- Amongst these new restrictions, Ramaphosa said that face masks have now become mandatory

- Briefly.co.za explores whether or not this means it is illegal not to wear a mask in public

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President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday evening and announced a number of new Covid-19 national lockdown regulations.

While this included the return of the alcohol ban, Ramaphosa was quick to reveal a change in the restrictions regarding face masks.

The president confirmed that the use of face masks in public places is now mandatory, but this raised some questions over the legal ramifications of failing to comply.

Briefly.co.za explores what facts are available regarding this regulation.

Fact Check: Yes, failing to wear mask in public is criminal offence

Minister Lamola explained that failing to wear a mask is indeed a crime in SA
Source: UGC

READ ALSO: Alcohol industry 'blindsided' by immediate return of liquor ban

On Monday, Justice and Correctional Service Minister Ronald Lamola provided some insight on the situation, explaining that it is now a criminal offence to not wear a mask in a public space:

“It has made the lives of members of the public difficult including law enforcement officers’ lives very difficult if people are not wearing a mask in a particular place. [The new regulations] as they stand do not differentiate between a fine and imprisonment. Both of them do give you some kind of criminal offence."

The penalty is a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment. This penalty is now contained in regulation 14(5) of the regulations.

Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za reported that the alcohol ban has received immense criticism from the industry, which says it was 'blindsided' by the immediate reimplementation of the regulations.

In a statement released by multiple shareholders, it was made clear that there will be immense economic fallout from this decision:

"The liquor industry has a wide and deep value chain employing almost one million people across the country. The Government’s decision has serious economic consequences, placing hundreds of thousands of livelihoods at risk."

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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