VALENCIA. The City of Valencia registered in July a total of 2,500 penalties for failing to comply with the obligation to wear a mask. Specifically, the figure as of July 31 amounts to 2,498 complaints signed by the Local Police of Valencia in the municipal area, according to data from the Department of Citizen Security that directs the mayor Aaron Cano.
The tendency of the sanctions is to concentrate on the weekend days, when greater relaxation seems to be manifested in the fulfillment of the obligation to wear the mask regardless of whether the interpersonal distance can be maintained. For Cano, the data on sanctions for not wearing a mask are “proof that we have lost respect for Covid-19.” “It is as simple an act as putting the mask on the street, it is not a complicated act,” regrets the mayor of Citizen Security.
According to the councilman, “a kind of invulnerability” has spread and “it seems that having passed the state of alarm, everything has happened.” But this is not the case, outbreaks continue to appear throughout the Spanish and Valencian geography. In this sense, Cano recalls that in the private sphere – where a good part of the new infections occur – institutions can only “appeal to individual responsibility” since “fundamental rights are sacrosanct.” However, he insists that it must be clear that “what we do in the private sphere has a direct impact on the public sphere.”
In the controls that the Valencia Local Police different units of the police force participate. The trend that the councilor himself made public at the end of last month specifies that the Coexistence and Security Unit (UCOS) is the one with the largest number of complaints, in addition to the division of Road safety, among other.
“The Local Police of Valencia knows the city and its inertias very well,” he explains, so has been deployed in neighborhoods knowing the habitual behaviors. “We have deployed not with a sanctioning spirit, quite the contrary,” assures the mayor, who insists that this situation “cannot be given a police solution.” “The Police is necessary and fundamental in this process, but Covid is not solved only through the police.” It goes without saying that infringements by not wearing the mask can amount to 100 euros. An amount that can be raised even more in case of recidivism.
The data released by the Councilor for Citizen Security at the time revealed the Navy as one of the main sources of non-compliance. The inspections have focused on this area because it is an enclave with a special concentration of leisure venues and because, in addition, it is an open space, making it a place that lends itself to not wearing a mask. Other areas where more sanctions have been registered is Russafa or the city center.
However, Cano flatly rejects the thesis of criminalizing the nightlife sector. “Not all problems are associated with nightlife,” he says, “it is a wrong analysis.” However, he admits that due to the nature of the activity, “it is true that nightlife has a high rate of infection.” That is, that a single case in nightlife causes or can cause many infections. Hence the necessary control in preventive measures.
“People have to become aware. Just as when you get into the car, the reflex movement is to put on your seatbelt, this reflex act of putting on the mask when you go out must also be integrated,” says the mayor, who concludes with a maxim: “There can be no Police in every corner appealing to citizen responsibility.”