The Surat Municipal Corporation has now followed its counterpart in Ahmedabad in increasing the fine for not wearing a mask in public. Surat Municipal Commissioner Banchanidhi Pani in a notification said that anyone found in public without a mask will have to cough up Rs500 as fine. It has also said that wearing a mask in public is mandatory and it is also mandatory to do so in office.
It should be noted that earlier the Gujarat government had fixed the fine for not wearing a mask in public at Rs200. Many health experts had argued that this was too low and it needed to be increased if better compliance was to be achieved. Surat has been reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases for the last many days. The district on Tuesday recorded 291 cases and five new deaths. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the district now stands at 8,406 while the death toll is 224. Surat city has been recording the maximum number of COVID-19 cases in the district. Earlier the AMC had increased the fine for not wearing masks and for spitting in public from Rs200 to Rs500. It had also decided to fine paan shop owners Rs10,000 if their patrons were found spitting around.