ROME — The mayor of the Italian town of Sutri north of Rome has established fines for wearing masks except when required by law, insisting that “only thieves and terrorists wear masks.”
The contrarian Italian parliamentarian Vittorio Sgarbi, who is also the mayor of Sutri, has been a vocal critic of mask-wearing and other restrictions imposed by the Italian government to address the coronavirus.
Mr. Sgarbi announced Saturday that in Sutri “anyone found wearing a face mask without need will be fined,” noting that there are no cases of coronavirus infection in the city.
“In compliance with the decree of the President of the Council of Ministers, the use of the mask outdoors in the City of Sutri is prohibited for obvious health reasons and indoors except in the case of assemblies,” the city ordinance reads.
Mr. Sgarbi said that in all other cases, those found wearing a mask will be fined in compliance with legislation on public order, which prohibits face coverings.
“The use of protective helmets or any other apparel making it difficult to recognize a person is prohibited in a public places or places open to the public without sufficient reason,” the law states.
Mr. Sgarbi also takes aim at certain mask-wearing practices that he finds “ridiculous.”
“On the other hand, the use of the mask in public places, except for employees, appears in evident contrast to the time dedicated to eating that requires taking food without a mask,” he writes.
“It therefore seems contradictory that after eating without a mask you get up from the table and put it on. These are ridiculous forms of ostentation that have nothing to do with healthcare needs,” he concludes.
The Italian government has been conducting between 90,000 and 100,000 coronavirus tests every day but deaths with COVID-19 have slowed to single digits and fewer than 100 coronavirus patients are in intensive care units in the entire country, which has a population of some 60 million.