Bangkok cops will now fine people in cars without masks

Photo: Ranod Police, Songkhla / Facebook
Photo: Ranod Police, Songkhla / Facebook

Being fined for not wearing a mask outside, we get that. But what about riding around in a closed vehicle?

People today were amused, amazed and frequently perplexed to learn that City Hall has in fact made taking off your mask inside a car illegal if anyone else is in the vehicle – no matter who it is.

“This measure is intended to prevent transmission from one person to another,” Bangkok Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang said. “Therefore, when you have another person inside the same vehicle, you must wear a face mask. Even if the other person is a family member, that’s no exception.”

Driving alone sans mask is just fine because they seem to at least understand your chances of infecting yourself are very low.

On Monday, the police confirmed they will enforce the measure, and a photo of one such newly minted THB500 (US$16) ticket was spreading around social media.

The rule has come in for heavy criticism for being an empty and meaningless gesture. Some argued that if they’re traveling with a family member, they would infect each other at home anyway; others pointed out that public transportation was a much more useful target for enforcement.

“Living in the same house, eating together and sleeping next to each other. But they’ll get infected inside a car?” Facebook user Aor Palakawong said in response to the news. “This shows they don’t have a small brain, but they actually have none.”

The current scientific consensus is that while people should wear masks outdoors, there is very little chance of transmission compared to indoor spaces.

“They should stress the importance of wearing a face mask on public transportation first, such as buses, trains, the skytrain, underground trains, taxis and third-wheeler taxis,” Facebook user Phirawat Poungngean wrote.

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