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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 15.08.2020, 10:49

Lithuania plans to make face masks mandatory indoors

BC, Vilnius, 27.07.2020.Print version
The Lithuanian government is planning to reintroduce on Wednesday the requirement to wear face masks in shopping centers and public transport in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, informed LETA/BNS.

The measure was on Monday preliminary approved by the government's COVID-19 crisis management committee.  

"We see that the number of cases is increasing both in Lithuania and around the world, and (...) we'll propose to introduce some additional requirements, (such as) to wear masks in public places," Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevicius told a news conference on Monday.

He said wearing face masks would be mandatory in shopping centers and public transport. 

"For now, we'll propose to require wearing masks only indoors – in public transport, shopping centers and shops with a larger number of people," the minister said. "We'll consider other alternatives, too, but we'll make final decisions at Wednesday's meeting (of the Cabinet)". 

"We need to take decisive action, because if we (...) do nothing, the number of infections may increase and we'll have to shut down businesses, which we definitely won't do," Jankevicius said. "The economy must keep going and people must keep their jobs. So we need to learn to live with safety measures," he added.  

If the Cabinet adopts the decision on mandatory face masks on Wednesday, the requirement may take effect on Thursday, according to Jankevicius. 

The minister also said that the government would introduce the number of coronavirus cases of unknown origin as an additional criterion when making decisions on safety measures. 

"It's also planned to introduce an additional criterion for wearing masks. If the number of cases that cannot be traced to any source of infection increases and reaches a certain threshold, it would be introduced as an additional criterion," he said.

Wearing facemasks in public spaces became optional, but still recommended, after the government lifted the three-month coronavirus lockdown in mid-June.  

Lithuania has reported 11 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the country's total count to 2,019.

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