Despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases, civic officials and the police have observed that not all are following the rules. Strict enforcement of the triad of precautionary measures — use of masks and sanitisers and following social distancing — in public spaces has become a priority.

“There seems to be a complacency that has set in among shopkeepers and the public about the precautionary measures to be followed to check the spread of the virus. We cannot afford to slip at this moment. We have started a strict enforcement drive,” said R. Ashok, nodal Minister for COVID-19 affairs, Bengaluru.

He added that supermarkets and other shops should allow only a limited number of customers into the premises at a time. “Social distancing is key and we shall enforce it,” he added. At the same time, Mr. Ashok urged citizens not to panic or spread rumours. “While there is no need for the panic that electronic media is fanning, resulting in stress and fear psychosis in the society, we also cannot become complacent. There will be no lockdown. We need to adapt to the new normal, take necessary precautions and be safe,” he said.

The city police carried out a special drive across the city on Saturday and booked nearly 2,000 cases, for violation of the triad of precautionary measures. “Shops, malls, banks, hotels, offices, and establishments — all of you are already aware of precautions to be taken, If you do not implement mask wearing and ensure safe distance, the city police will initiate legal action. This has already started,” tweeted Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao.

N. Shashikumar, DCP (North), while booking cases and shutting down shops that were violating precautionary measures, also distributed roses to shopkeepers who were diligently following them.

Over ₹5 lakh in fine

BBMP marshals, too, have been levying fine on offenders. To date, the civic body has registered 2,511 cases and collected a little over ₹5.02 lakh from people not wearing masks or following social distancing rules. However, the bulk of cases are related to not wearing masks. In some zones such as Mahadevapura, Yelahanka and Dasarahalli, not a single case has been filed. (See box)

Mr. Rao has called upon the people to enforce wearing masks and social distancing in public spaces. “It is like smoking. You can be affected if the other person is smoking near you. Likewise, you can be affected if the person next to you is not wearing a mask or not maintaining social distance. It is everyone’s business,” he said speaking to The Hindu.

He urged citizens to enforce mask wearing and social distancing. “If people argue call 100, we are ready to respond to your calls,” he tweeted on Sunday morning.

While the police are presently only warning people for violations, he said “criminal cases will follow”.

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