KHABAROVSK/CHITA, Russia -- Officials in some Russian regions are introducing a so-called "mask regime" in an attempt to prevent the spread of flu viruses, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
In the Far Eastern Khabarovsk Krai, all theater and moviegoerss are obliged to wear surgical masks.
In addition, all individuals working behind a counter are also required to wear surgical masks, as are public transportation workers.
Officials say the number of people with flu and respiratory diseases is three times higher this year than it has been during recent years in the region.
A similar regulation was also introduced in the Russian Baikal region of Zabaikalye.
People who are obliged to wear surgical masks but do not can be fined 500 rubles ($17) by police.