In a first for the country, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday made face masks as compulsory part of attire for all citizens in Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Pune Metropolitan Region who want to move around in any public places for whatever reasons.
In an order this evening, the officials have said that the measure was necessitated as studies have revealed that wearing facial masks can substantially reduce the spread of coronavirus from and to persons coming in contact with each other, besides other mandatory social distancing measures already implemented.
Accordingly, the government has decreed that any persons moving around in public places like streets, hospitals, offices, markets, etc, for whatever reasons must compulsorily sport a face mask.
This would also be applicable to all people moving around in their official or personal vehicles at any site, office or workplace, besides attending any gatherings or meetings at workplaces.
Earlier, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi issued an order that the regular 3-play masks or cloth masks, either available with pharmacies or home-made which can be washed and reused after disinfecting them, must be worn while stepping out.
Shortly thereafter, Thane Police Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar also issued similar orders for the city, which falls under the MMR.
These strict orders - with punitive clauses - came as Maharashtra continued to soar highest in the country in terms of maximum Covid-19 deaths (40) and positive cases (686) as on Wednesday, with Mumbai and Pune being the worst-hit.