Is failure to wear a Face Mask in public places in Kenya an offense? What do the Public Health Act regulations say?

By John Kiragu, BScN, MPH(Student)

The Public Health (COVID-19 Restriction of Movement of Persons and Related Measures) Rules 2020 stipulates that ”Users of public or private transport and public transport operators shall wear a proper mask that must cover the person’s mouth and nose”  sub-rule 4 of rule number 5. Failure to comply with sub-rule 4 is an offense.

With regard to hygienic issues, rule number 6 of the rules stipulates that any person who is in a public place during the restricted period is required to “maintain a physical distance of no less than one meter from the next person” under sub-rule 1 and to “use a proper face mask that must cover the person’s mouth and nose” under sub-rule 2. Failure to comply with sub-rule 1 and 2 is an offense under sub-rule 3.

A restricted period has been defined in the Public Health (COVID-19 Restriction of Movement of Persons and Related Measures) Rules 2020 as “the period specified by the Cabinet Secretary in the order declaring an area to be an infected area”. In addition, the rules define public places as “any outdoor, indoor, enclosed, or partially enclosed area which is open to the public or any part of the public, or to which members of the public ordinarily have access, and includes a workplace and a public conveyance”

Reference

The Public Health Act (Cap 242). THE PUBLIC HEALTH (COVID-19 RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT OF PERSONS AND RELATED MEASURES) RULES, 2020 Special Issue, Kenya Gazzete Supplement No. 41. 6th April, 2020. Kenya Subsidiary Legislation 2020.

Author:

John Kiragu, MPH(student), RN(BScN) at the University of Nairobi.

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John Kiragu

A student in Masters' of Public Health focusing on Health Economics, Health Policy and Planning at the School of Public Health_University of Nairobi.
Practicing RN with a Bachelors' Degree in Nursing Sciences from the same University. A founder for Kenyan-based Health-Tech Startup company implementing a digital platform to improve maternal health outcomes.

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