People will not be fined if they are not wearing masks on beaches, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced on Thursday, as more COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

A wet mask offered no protection, and therefore a decision has been to remove the mandatory law stipulating masks should also be worn by bathers. The measure comes into effect on June 1.

The measure was among the most criticised by many people, especially with the beach season looming. The measure is not retroactive which means any pending fines will have to be paid. 

However, Fearne underlined the importance of the continued use of masks in public places, and will remain enforceable by law for the time being. 

"The use of masks is very important because it stops the virus from transmitting to others. When we announce measures being eased, we can do so because we are still wearing masks. This will continue to be essential in public places. But we have to be practical."

The minister said the measure stipulating the use of masks in public places will be eased in future provided the numbers of COVID-19 cases remain low.

The easing of restrictions over the next few weeks.The easing of restrictions over the next few weeks.

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