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Chandigarh, (Gurpreet): -Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has advised owners of sweet shops and other shops in the state to provide free masks to customers on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

          The appeal comes four days after the Chief Minister had announced that the sweet shops will be allowed to remain open on August 2, a day before the Raksha Bandhan festival, despite the Sunday lockdown in place in the state.

          DCs have been asked to advise the owners of sweet shops in their respective districts to give a pair of masks free of cost with the purchase of sweets in order to promote and popularise the use of masks. Similar advisories may also be issued to owners of other shops for giving away free masks on purchase of Rakhis, said the Chief Minister.

          An active proponent of the use of the mask to check the further spread of Coronavirus in the state, where the number of Covid cases has been steadily increasing over the past couple of weeks, Captain Amarinder has already warned of increase in the fine amount on violation of mandatory wearing of mask. Among the first states to impose fine on those not wearing the mask when venturing out of their homes, Punjab is currently imposing a penalty of Rs 500 in every instance of violation. However, with a large number of violations being reported from many districts, the Chief Minister has said the amount can be hiked further if people do not behave responsibly.

          The Chief Minister has recently directed the Health Department to install mask vending machines at bus stands and other strategic points. In addition, free masks are being distributed to the poor along with their ration kits.

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