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France sets €135 fine for no mask on public transport

People who do not wear a face mask on public transport in France - including the Metro, trains, buses, taxis and even planes - after confinement lifts on May 11 will risk a fine of around €135, the government has said.

Junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari made the announcement in an interview with newspaper Le Parisien on Friday (May 1).

It comes after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Tuesday (April 28) that people using public transport post-confinement would be required to wear a mask, and maintain social distancing rules for at least three weeks.

Mr Djebbari said that “law enforcement” would be permitted to enforce these rules, as would transport operator security staff.

He said: “We will also legally authorise specialised staff at SNCF and perform these checks. And if not, they can issue fines. People who want to take a VTC [ride-sharing vehicle such as Uber], a taxi, or go into a station without wearing a mask may be refused access. If they still enter despite this, they will be fined.”

The €135 figure has been suggested as it is the same as that levied for people who break confinement.

Mr Djebbari said that the idea was to make it “something similar to that given in case of leaving the house without an attestation form [currently]. Meaning €135. But this has not yet been confirmed”, he said.

The minister said that before people would be issued fines, they would be “educated” on the rules, and given a chance to comply.

He said: “We will help users in the wearing of obligatory masks on public transport. We will do everything we can to ensure that everyone has a mask by May 11. And, just as for land travel, we will also require people to wear masks on planes.”

The rules come as head of train company SNCF, Jean-Pierre Farandou, repeated his calls for passengers to wear masks when travelling on trains.

Speaking to news channel France 2 on Thursday (April 30), he said: “Please, the French public, wear a mask when you take the train! I see this as a reciprocal arrangement. SNCF will disinfect all trains at least once a day, and will be stepping up our cleaning procedures.

“We will put marks on the floor so customers can respect barrier measures. The counterpart of this reciprocal engagement is [the public] wearing a mask.”

He added that it will be possible to buy masks at the station, but “the right thing to do” would be to come into the station wearing a mask already.

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