Swiss police can now issue on-the-spot fines for mask refusers

Swiss police can now issue on-the-spot fines for mask refusers
Mask refusers can now be fined on the spot in Switzerland. Photo: STEFAN WERMUTH / AFP
A law change has made it much easier for mask refusers to be fined in Switzerland.

Switzerland’s National Council on Tuesday put in place a range of changes to the Covid-19 regulation. 

As a result of the changes, police will now be able to issue on-the-spot fines for ‘mask refusers’, i.e. people who do not comply with the country’s strict coronavirus mask requirement. 

Groups of people who exceed limits on public meetings and do not comply with social distancing rules can now also be issued with on-the-spot fines by law enforcement officers. 

Switzerland’s new outdoor mask requirement: Everything you need to know

Previously, police would issue violators with tickets, which would then be forwarded to the responsible governor – who would decide how high the penalty would be and whether it would indeed be imposed. 

Now, police can issue fines to violators immediately as they come across them. 

While the Epidemics Act still has a maximum fine of CHF10,000 for intentional behaviour and CHF5,000 for negligence, these fines are typically issued to businesses and organisations which operate in contravention of the coronavirus measures. 

The fines for individual mask violators are capped at a much more reasonable CHF300. 

The law changes also gave more discretion to police to refrain from issuing fines where they feel something is unclear, for instance where someone is not wearing a mask in a pedestrian area, as reported by Watson

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