Bengaluru: Karnataka Medical Education minister Dr K Sudhakar has said that the penalty for not wearing a mask in public places will be hiked to Rs 1,000 in urban areas and Rs 500 in rural areas.

However, an approval for the hike in the fine must be given by the chief minister BS Yediyurappa.

At present, the fine amount is Rs 200 and the steep hike has been proposed in view of people not wearing masks in public places to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Dr K Sudhakar added that it has also been decided not to allow more than 50 people in events, including weddings, and strict action will be initiated against the organisers on violations.

Public transport like buses can operate with 50% capacity, the minister added.

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Addressing the media, Sudhakar said “In recent times, people have been showing negligence by not wearing masks. Hence, the fine has been increased from Rs 200. The fine will be imposed on those not fully covering their nose and mouth with masks”.

The fine will be imposed and collected by police stations in their respective jurisdictional areas.

K Sudhakar said the decision had been taken after careful consideration of recommendation by the senior officers, adding that the official directive on the penalties will be out on Thursday, after discussing it with Yediyurappa.