Brazil’s southeast state of Sao Paulo, which is hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, on Monday announced fines for failing to wear a face mask in public.
The new regulation, which takes effect July 1, calls for a fine of 500 reals (92 U.S. dollars) for individuals not wearing a face mask in a public space, and a steeper fine of 5,000 reals (920 U.S. dollars) for commercial establishments that do not enforce the rule.
“Our goal is not to fine anyone. We want to see 100 percent of the people in the street using a face mask because that reduces the chances of catching the coronavirus,” Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria said.
Some 5,000 inspectors from a range of government agencies will fan out across the state to enforce the requirement as part of lockdown measures in effect statewide.
Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populated and industrialized state, has seen approximately a quarter of the country’s total number of COVID-19 infections and deaths.
In the state, shops and shopping centers are currently allowed to open for four hours a day. Bars and restaurants are expected to reopen next Monday.
Brazil has reported 1,368,195 cases of coronavirus infection and a COVID-19 death toll of 58,314.
Money collected from the fines will be used to fund a social program called Solidarity Food, which distributes basic foods to those in need, according to authorities.