Those who break face mask rules in England and repeatedly refuse to wear them will receive increased fines of up to £3,200, it has been announced.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the increase of fines as he announced further changes to the easing of lockdown restrictions in England, including the reopening of casinos and bowling alleys, which will come into place from Saturday 15 August 2020.
The price of fines rise
Currently, those who refuse to wear a face covering in places where it is required face a fine of £100. This can be reduced to £50 if it is paid within 14 days.
However, under the new measures, the penalty will double for each subsequent offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.
Organisers of illegal gatherings of more than 30 people (including raves) could face a penalty of up to £10,000.
Where do I have to wear a face mask?
In England, face coverings are mandatory on public transport, in shops, hairdressers, beauty salons, museums, galleries and cinemas, as well as a range of other locations.
However, there are some exemptions for children under a certain age, and for people with certain medical conditions.
‘We are strengthening the enforcement powers available’
When announcing the new fines, the Prime Minister said, “Most people in this country are following the rules and doing their bit to control the virus, but we must remain focused and we cannot be complacent.
“That is why we are strengthening the enforcement powers available to use against those who repeatedly flout the rules.”
However, some police leaders have previously said that forces do not have the resources to issue face mask fines to the public.
In July, John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, said that it would be “impossible” for police officers to enforce face mask legislation.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said, “Coronavirus remains a real and present threat to all of us and the majority of the British public are doing the right thing.
“I will not stand by and see these sacrifices undermined by a small minority of senseless individuals.
“These measures send a clear message – if you don’t cooperate with the police and if you put our health at risk, action will follow.”
The government has said that more detail on the new enforcement measures will be set out in the coming week.