Fining the man at the top

Fines vary considerably from one country to another. However, within the same country the same rules and fines should apply to everyone, irrespective of one’s position in society.

Two heads of state found this out the hard way. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov was fined 300 leva ( 154 euro) for not wearing a mask during a visit to the Rila Monastery in the south-western part of his country. In Brasil, federal judge Renato Coelho Borelli has ruled that president Jair Bolsonaro is obliged to wear a face mask when out in public in the district of Brasilia. Should the president not comply with the district’s rules, then he would be fined 2000 réais (340 euro) per day.

Do fines work in changing people’s behavior and in fighting the pandemic? The cases of Messrs Borissov and Bolsonaro will provide us with another clue in this discussion.