The Children’s Ombudsman calls for clarity on the reasonable minimum age from which children are to wear protective masks in enclosed public spaces
In an approach to the Prime Minister, Ion Chicu, the People’s Advocate for Children’s Rights, Maia Banarescu, notes that the provisions of Decision no. 11 of May 15, 2020 of the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission, which ordered the wearing of masks in public transport, commercial spaces and closed public spaces, in the situation where the social / physical distance cannot be respected, are unclear and easily interpretable in case of children.
Maia Banarescu draws attention to the fact that a baby or a child aged 0-7 cannot meet the requirement to wear masks equally with a minor aged 15 or 18. Therefore, in the opinion of the People’s Advocate for Children’s Rights, the applicability of this requirement is disproportionate in relation to the age categories of the children reaching the age of majority
Maia Banarescu is of the opinion that the protection measure regarding the wearing of masks in closed public spaces is too general and interpretive, which allows abuses both by the control bodies and by the economic agents that provide certain services and are responsible for ensuring the protection measures in closed public spaces.
Given the temperament and behavior of children depending on their age, as well as the different level of perception of social information, the People’s Advocate for Children’s Rights is of the opinion that any protection measure adopted by the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission is to be a priori adapted to the needs of children, taking into account their age, health status (disability, etc.) and their degree of social vulnerability.
Maia Banarescu considers appropriate to establish a reasonable minimum age for which children are to wear protective masks, without being affected by it, as well as the opportunity to wear protective masks by children with disabilities.
Without calling into question the need to wear protective masks in closed public spaces, the Children’s Ombudsman is pleading for the establishment of clear and specific conditions when the requirement in question concerns minors.
On the basis of the above, the People’s Advocate for Children’s Rights requested the establishment of a proportionate criterion for the wearing of protective masks with regard to children, taking into account their age, health and degree of social vulnerability and the revision of point (1.7) of Decision no. 11 of May 15, 2020 of the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission in accordance with this reasoning.
2020 06 23
Department for Promotion of
Human Rights and Communication
Children’s Rights Department
 According to Art. 51, par. (1) of the Family Code of the Republic of Moldova, a child is a person who has not reached the age of 18 (the age of majority).