Amendments to legal notice will allow temporary removal of face masks for people to eat and smoke

People will be allowed to temporarily remove their face mask while sitting down to eat and smoke • Amendments will not apply if persons are walking  

Amendments to a legal notice will allow for people to eat, drink and smoke in public spaces, as long as they are sitting down.  

The amendment follows a string of reports by people who fined for being outside without a mask while eating a takeaway. 

"Following the measures announced last Thursday where establishments can only serve food on a take-away basis, the legal notice is being adjusted to cater for the temporary removal of masks during the consumption of food or drinks in public places. It must be stated that this has always been the spirit of the law, in fact on previous occasions it was already clarified that a mask could be taken off when smoking a lit tobacco product," a Health Minsitry spokesperson said. 

It transpires that the face mask legal notice introduced last October was already that tough – it was simply not being enforced. 

Despite the changes, the temporary removal of facemasks will not be allowed if the person is walking while eating or smoking.  

Changes to the legal notice follow announcements that over 700 people were fined by authorities for breaching COVID-19 regulation. 56 people were fined for congregating in groups of six people or more.