Two Romanian ministers on Wednesday have owned up to breaking mask-wearing rules and asked authorities to fine them.
Raluca Turcan, who is labor minister, was photographed without a mask over the weekend during a tree planting expedition in the mountains outside the central city of Sibiu. She was accompanied by a group of people including local officials.
The local branch of the ruling Liberal Party published a number of photos and the story was taken up by Turnul Sfatului, a local newspaper. In some of them, she is not wearing a mask.
She apologized on Wednesday for the slip, explaining that it wasn’t a deliberate stance or a question of not caring.
“I’ve asked to be fined,” she said. “Even if it was for a few moments and for the rest of the time I respected the rules.” It’s not clear how much the fine will be.
She called the incident “a mishap which I am sorry for,” in a post on Facebook.
She said she understood criticism, adding that some images had been photoshopped to make the situation look worse.
Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu also apologized for appearing without a mask at the Romanian Parliament and said he’d asked to be sanctioned.
Photos were published of the minister in the Parliament building where he wasn’t wearing a face covering.
„It’s absolutely necessary for people to respect rules…. and for companies, political parties and politicians in general to urge people to comply,” he said.
„I’ve asked to be fined and I apologize again for a guilty slip-up,” he said, Agerpres news agency reported,.
Face masks have been mandatory in public since last year after a spike in Covid-19 cases. Cases have soared in recent weeks and authorities have enforced new restrictions including a 8 p.m. curfew and shorter shop hours in places where there are very high case numbers.
The masks are among the least popular measures introduced during the pandemic. In the past three days, people have staged anti-restrictions protests. Some demonstrators have been fined for refusing to wear face coverings.
In her statement, the minister said it was “important to respect all the rules, it’s important to remain prudent and to protect our health and those around us.”
“I understand that everyone’s tired but we have to remain prudent and accelerate the vaccine,” rollout. She said things could get better soon.
Ms Turcan was photographed on Saturday with a local official, and six other people, including a child during the reforestation trip.
One of the participants was subsequently hospitalized after catching the virus.