Plans to require third-country nationals to wear face masks in closed public places two weeks after return


It is planned that third-country nationals will be obliged to use a mouth and nose mask in closed public places 14 days after returning from the said foreign country, except during meals, resulting from the draft amendment to the Covid-19 Infection Control Law submitted to the Government of the Ministry of the Interior. .

These amendments will be decided by the government today.

For the purposes of these amendments, shops, cafes, public transport and similar places are considered to be enclosed.

The project also notes that these people will always need to carry an identity document and must present it at the request of an employee of a state or municipal institution.

In order to ensure that these obligations are met, thus minimizing the spread of Covid-19, the project provides for administrative liability for non-compliance.

Namely, it will be possible to impose a fine on a natural person from two to 400 fine units or from 10 euros to 2000 euros for non-compliance with or non-presentation of the obligation to have a passport condition specified in the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers issued on the basis of this law.

The project annotation notes that the envisaged administrative penalty sanction is analogous to the already valid sanction for non-compliance with isolation or quarantine, thus excluding the advantage for a foreigner to hide a passport in order to avoid the penalty for non-compliance with isolation or quarantine. The administrative violation proceedings regarding the said violation will be performed by the State Police or the municipal police.

The Covid-19 Infection Control Law is also supplemented by the fact that a fine of two to 400 fine units is imposed on a natural person for non-compliance with the obligation to use mouth and nose masks specified in the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers issued on the basis of this law. The proposed sanction for administrative penalties is analogous to the sanction already in force for breaches of epidemiological safety requirements.

The planned amendments also stipulate that the decision on the term of validity of a residence permit will be extended until 31 December this year for persons holding a temporary residence permit (TUA). It will also be determined that the absence, starting from the moment of determination of the emergency situation, ie from 12 March to 31 December 2020, is considered to be justified when assessing the issue of granting, registration or revocation of permanent residence permits.

The MoI has justified such amendments with the fact that thus the number of persons entering Latvia will be reduced in order not to exceed the statutory period of absence for persons with TUA.

The project annotation explains that the validity of these norms facilitates the entry of foreigners from countries with a high prevalence of Covid-19 infection, moreover, entry from some countries is practically impossible due to the suspension of regular passenger transport, thus foreigners who meet all the requirements of the Immigration Law. conditions and for whom a decision has been taken to issue a residence permit, this permit will not be available due to entry restrictions.

It has already been reported that Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs (JV) believes that immigrants from outside the European Union or third countries should cancel temporary residence permits (TUA) or visas if they violate the 14-day self-isolation regime.

The Minister announced that he would invite colleagues to discuss this proposal at today’s government meeting.

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