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Dh500 fine for cloth mask? Not true as viral photo of fine ticket was for different violation

 

DUBAI – A fine ticket of Dh500 for allegedly wearing a cloth mask was actually issued for failure to wear a mask in the office, Expatmedia.net discovered.

Expatmedia.net had reached out to Dinnis Magat, an Abu Dhabi-based Filipino expatriate behind the viral social media photo and comment claiming that he was fined Dh500 for wearing a cloth mask.

In his original social media comment, Magat claimed that police fined him Dh500 for wearing a cloth mask that the officer allegedly said “is prone to Covid-19”.

Speaking to Expatmedia.net on Tuesday, Magat claimed he was fined outside a grocery store near his home in Abu Dhabi.

He also sent Expatmedia.net a copy of the fine ticket and a text message from Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport about the fine issued to him on June 17.

It turns out the fine of Dh500 was meted out for a different violation. The violation mentioned in the fine is for “employee or worker not wearing mask in the workplace or in the joint housing of the workers groups”.

The fine was issued in Abu Dhabi’s Hai Al Qasr area at 9:24am on June 17.

When asked if he would contest the fine issued to him, Magat said his employer is taking care of the matter.

No fine for wearing a cloth mask

Meanwhile, a representative of Abu Dhabi Police told Expatmedia.net that there is no violation for wearing a cloth mask in public.

“Cloth masks are considered a mask. No one should get fined if they wear one,” Abu Dhabi Police told Expatmedia.net.

The UAE has made it mandatory for anyone going out in public to wear a facemask and maintain social distancing. Reusable masks or cloth masks are allowed in all emirates.

Dr. Farida Al Hosani, spokesperson of the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, also advocated the wearing of reusable facemasks.

“We recommend everyone wears a mask when you go out. The alternative option in the absence of a medical mask is to cover the nose and mouth using paper masks, or home-made masks made of cotton or mixed cotton, making sure to re-wash them,” Al Hosani told a media briefing in April. “When I wear a mask I am protecting you and when you wear a mask you are protecting me,” Al Hosani said.

Under UAE rules, those who fail to wear a facemask in public will be fined Dh3,000, according to the Emergency Crisis and Disasters Committee.

In offices, employees who don’t wear masks will be fined Dh500 while companies or offices where employees don’t wear masks at work will be fined Dh5,000.

Fake news video taken down

Meanwhile, an Emirati vlogger has apologized and deleted a video where he claimed that people wearing cloth masks will be fined Dh500.

The vlogger, known by the name Prince Jack Abood (PJA), said he had taken down the video after authorities advised him to do so.

“We had got fake information that some people were being fined Dh500 for wearing cloth masks. PJA took this up seriously as we care for people. Please accept our apologies for the post. I have already deleted it,” the vlogger said in a post.

The video was widely shared on social media and had caused massive confusion among residents.

Spreading fake news a crime in UAE

UAE authorities have repeatedly warned residents against sharing fake news and unverified information, saying they must only get information through credible sources such as government institutions and the media.

Under the UAE law, spreading rumours and false information is a crime punishable with a fine of up to Dh3 million and jail term.

In April, the UAE Government also announced that posting or spreading fake health information in the UAE will be punishable with a Dh20,000 fine.

“It is strictly prohibited for anyone to publish, re-publish, or circulate false, misleading, misrepresented, unofficially published or unapproved health information or guidelines by the Ministry (of Health and Prevention) or the health regulators,” the UAE Government tweeted.

The decision applies to any post published on traditional or online media, including social media. ICA/Expat Media

ALSO READ

Dh3,000 fine ticket for Covid-19 violator goes viral

Coronavirus in UAE: full list of fines and rules

How to keep facemasks clean and effective


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