Today, November 2, stricter mask rules are coming into play. Masks will be mandatory to wear in restaurants and entertainment venues in addition to public transport, stores, health care facilities, cinemas, theatres, sports and outdoor events and offices with customer services.
Starting this Monday, the nose and mouth will have to be covered with a mask even in restaurants and entertainment venues – including clubs. The mask may only be removed during consumption or while sitting at a table, reported Index. Authorities may also inspect catering units to see whether the regulations are enforced, and if they are not, the restaurant may get closed.
An important difference to note is that, while previous rules only referred to restaurant staff, now also guests and customers have to wear a mask inside restaurants, buffets, pubs and shopping mall food courts. If the rules are violated, and authorities find out, the restaurant will be given a warning, but a fine of €273-2,730 can be imposed as well, or the place may be shut down for at least a day, but no longer than a year. These sanctions can now be imposed at the same time, as according to the latest regulations.
The system has previously been more patient, as a warning was first given, then came the fine, which the amount of was increased according to the number of violations that occurred at the place concerned, and only after that came a shorter, then a one-year closure.
“In a shop in which catering is also carried out as an ancillary activity, the mask need not be worn during the period of consumption of the food and drink purchased there. A person staying as a guest in a catering shop is not required to wear a mask while sitting at a table in a catering shop or if the food or drink purchased in the catering shop can be consumed not only while sitting at a table, only during the period of consumption of food or drink are they not obligated to wear a mask,” the Catering Regulation states.
Meaning, that one can take off their mask while sitting at a table or eating in a catering unit, but if they need to use the bathroom, make a phone call, order at the counter or go out for a smoke, they need to put the mask back on. If someone breaks these rules, the staff may ask them to leave the premises.
It is the responsibility of restaurants and operators to enforce the regulations and make sure the guests comply with the rules. The police and other authorities may also do random inspections.
A mask must also be worn at clubs, during music and dance events as well. The only exceptions are the performers and those who are consuming food or drinks at the bar.
A scarf of shawl no longer suffices as a way to cover the face. The nose and mouth must be covered by a mask made out of textile or other materials or by a medical mask.
To sum it all up: one must wear a mask in closed spaces – including restaurants and entertainment venues –, unless they are sitting at a table and/or consuming food or drinks.
The virus is now too widespread in the country to know for sure who might be ill, and many might be asymptomatic, so everyone must be considered as potentially contagious, Cecília Müller explained the tightening of the regulations.