Serbia introduces hefty fines for violating COVID sanitary rules

Serbia has introduced hefty fines for failure to wear face masks or maintain social distancing in public in efforts to rein in a major spike in coronavirus infections.

Parliament, meeting on Thursday evening, paved the way for tougher measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by amending legislation meant to combat contagious diseases.

Under the amendments, anyone not wearing a face mask or failing to maintain distance in indoor or outdoor public spaces face fines of 5,000 dinars ($50.29), a hefty penalty in a country where the average monthly take-home pay is $570.

Companies, restaurants and shops that fail to comply with sanitary rules imposed by the government, including keeping distance between employees or customers or wearing of face masks, could face fines of 50,000-300,000 dinars.

The former Yugoslav republic, with a population of around 7 million, has recorded 73,765 cases of COVID-19 and 955 deaths.

The amended law also envisions that in case of a pandemic, the health ministry may introduce mandatory vaccination of the entire population or specific groups.

($1 = 99.4300 Serbian dinars)