Given the negligence shown by passengers at airports in following the mandatory protocols for Covid-19, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has now told the airports to levy spot fines on those who violate the norms— like not wearing masks or are not abiding by regulations in place for social distancing. The development comes days after the DGCA's decision on March 13 which allowed airlines to deboard the passengers who do not follow the guidelines, even after repeated warnings.
Our fight against COVID continues.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) March 30, 2021
Advisory issued to all airports to ensure compliance of COVID19 Protocol. People must wear face masks (covering nose & mouth)& maintain social distance. We are moving in direction of punitive action by police against passengers who don't comply.
A circular issued to airports by DGCA on Tuesday read "During the surveillance of some airports, it has come to notice that compliance (of COVID-19 protocols) is not satisfactory." According to PTI, the circular further states "All airport operators, therefore, are requested to ensure that the instructions on COVID-19 protocol from the standpoint of wearing face mask properly, covering nose and mouth, as well as maintaining social distance norms within the airport premises are followed scrupulously."
At least fifteen people were found violating norms in place for Covid-19 at the airports between March 15-March 23. The DGCA took up the matter last week and has said that all fifteen passengers may be banned for air travel for three months by the carriers. Incidents of passengers not wearing masks, even as the flight crew warned them against doing so, have surfaced on social media in the past few months. The DGCA also observed that protocols in place for Covid-19 are not being followed in many airports of the country, and has issued strict orders to airports to spot fine the violator henceforth.
The circular even stated, "The possibility of taking punitive action, such as levy of spot fines in accordance with the law, shall also be explored with the local police authorities so as to serve a deterrent for violation of COVID-19 protocol."