Panaji: Cracking the whip on tourists who refuse to wear face masks and argue against civic authorities, Panaji Mayor Uday Madkaikar said on Monday that police will henceforth accompany officials enforcing the norm and that errant tourists will be photographed and fined.
Madkaikar said that the decision was taken after reports that certain tourists became abusive towards Panaji Municipal Corporation officials, especially those visiting the iconic Immaculate Conception Church in Panaji.
“In view of these unnecessary tussles, police will now accompany our municipality officials during drives to enforce the use of face masks in public. Photos of tourists who do not follow the rule will also be taken before they are directed to pay fines,” Madkaikar told reporters in Panaji.
“We do not want to harass people, but some tourists create a ruckus during our enforcement drives. This is a pan-India SOP. People should visit Goa, but they should not take the state’s people for granted. The objective of wearing masks is to keep everyone safe from coronavirus,” Madkaikar added.
Goa has witnessed a steady trickle of tourists, ever since the state borders were reopened some months back. However, it has resulted in large crowds at popular beaches, sites of tourist interest as well as near casino hubs in the state.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has repeatedly urged everyone to maintain social distance norms, wear face masks and regularly use sanitisers to clean hands.Last week, the Goa government doubled the fine for not wearing masks to Rs 200.