AT least 52 people countrywide were arrested yesterday and fined between $200 and $500 each for not wearing face masks in public.
Government recently gazetted a law compelling all people to wear face masks in public.
In terms of new health regulations gazetted on Saturday, those who fail to wear masks face punitive action or imprisonment of up to one year.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrests saying the offenders were all fined at various police stations across the country.
“Police arrested 52 people across the country yesterday for not wearing face masks in public. Wearing of masks in public is now a legal requirement and we have been urging members of the public to be compliant with the new health regulations.
“Unfortunately, there are some people who are disregarding this and not taking our messages seriously. We continue to urge the nation to always adhere to the set Covid-19 regulations.
“We also remind the nation that the police are there to enforce the law and those caught on the wrong side of the law will be arrested,” he said.
Meanwhile, the number of people arrested for various offences since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown in the country has risen to 22 174.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the majority of offenders were caught travelling without exemption letters while claiming to be offering essential services.
He appealed to employers to give employees necessary documentation to enable them to pass through security checkpoints.
“We continue to appeal to companies exempted to operate during the extended lockdown to give their employees requisite documentation confirming they are allowed to work during the lockdown.
“This will help them to be easily identified at checkpoints or when asked for such by officers who would be on patrol. We will not allow anyone to pass through a checkpoint without exemption letters and masks,” he said.