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Wearing masks while exercising in public places must

27 May 2020 By SHADDAD AL MUSALMY

Wearing masks while walking, running and riding bicycles in public places is a must but not while driving in a private vehicles, according to the Government Communication Centre (GCC).

With the face mask ruling coming in recently, many people are still confused about using masks while taking up fitness activities like walking, running or riding bicycles in public places. Some say they were stopped and asked to wear masks even when driving in their private vehicles.

“As I was driving home, two days ago, I was stopped by a police patrol and  told to wear a face mask. I was with my son in the car and was wondering if masks are necessary. I did not know why they stopped me because if I am to wear masks in the vehicle when I’m with my family, then the same should also apply at home. I asked for clarification but was told this was for my own safety. I was not fined though,” Saada al Numani, a home maker from Al Khuwayr, said.

In a statement, the Government Communication Centre said, ‘Wearing the mask inside the vehicle depends on the following cases: If the driver of the vehicle is alone, he is not obligated to wear it, but he or she is obligated to wear it when he exits the vehicle.’

‘If the driver of the vehicle is with his/her family members inside the vehicle, everyone is not obligated to wear it inside the vehicle. However, if a person or persons with the driver inside the vehicle are not members of the family that live together, they must wear a mask inside the vehicle,’ the statement added.

However, wearing masks is mandatory when doing exercises like walking, running or riding in public places. “I was at the beach with my mum, having a morning walk without masks. Police came and told us we must wear masks. We didn’t know. I thought it is dangerous to do exercise when wearing masks. I find it difficult to breath and more so because I’m an asthmatic,” Said Nizar, a student, said.

During this time, many also indulge in riding bicycles. “In the last few months, I have been actively riding my bicycle just to get rid of laziness. However, I was recently stopped by a police patrol and they told me not to ride without a mask. I though it is fine not to wear a mask when you are alone. Moreover, I feel it is unsafe to exercise with masks on. However, we have to abide, ” Naser al Jahdhami, a private sector employee, said.

Indeed, face masks are mandatory even when walking and riding in public areas. ‘The person must adhere to wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing and other measures when walking or exercising,’ the Government Communication Centre said.

‘The penalty for not wearing a mask in public places is in accordance with Resolution No 151/2020, which relates to controls for dealing with violators of the decisions of the Supreme Committee. Not wearing the mask is a violation and the fine is RO 20,’  a GCC statement said.

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