The Public Health Ordinance, CH. 12 No. 4 was recently amended to implement the new mask law effective from Monday August, 31st, 2020 and to impose fines for persons seen violating the Regulations.
What is a mask?
A mask is any type of “face covering” which covers the nose, mouth and chin of the person wearing it.
The requirement to wear a face mask when in a vehicle
As per Regulation 6, no person shall “without reasonable excuse” travel in a vehicle without wearing a face mask.
The requirement to wear masks in public
Regulation 7 states that no person shall “without reasonable excuse” be in a public space without wearing a face mask.
The circumstances in which a person has a reasonable excuse
These include where the person cannot put on, wear or remove a face mask because of any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability or without severe distress. Other circumstances include those where it is “reasonably necessary” for the person to eat or drink or to take medication.
The owner or operator of any business which provides goods or services to the public shall ensure that a member of the public is not permitted entry to the business unless he/she is wearing a face mask. An employee shall wear a face mask when working in an enclosed public space.
The above does not apply to a child who is under the age of 8 or where the person is in a vehicle alone.
Criminal liability of children
The age below which a child is conclusively presumed to be unable to commit an offence is 7 years under the common law.
Where the person is a child (over the age of 8) and is accompanied by an individual who has responsibility for the child, the individual shall provide and ensure that the child has and wears the face mask. To be clear, the said individual would be responsible for paying the fine.
A child over the age of 8 who is found in public without wearing a face mask or travelling in a vehicle without wearing a face mask and who is also unaccompanied by an adult is liable to be fined under the Regulations.
A person who contravenes this regulation commits an offence and is liable to a fixed penalty fine of $1000.00 for the first offence as from 31st day of August, 2020 in addition to administrative fees as may be determined by the Court.
The penalty increases to $2,000 for a second offence and $3,000 if a person is caught a third time without a mask.
Failure to pay
On failure to pay, a person may be liable on summary conviction to a fine of $5000.00 and to a term of imprisonment of three days.
A child under 14 cannot be sentenced to imprisonment.
This post does not constitute or provide legal advice neither does it establish an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.