Many Hongkongers have broken the city’s Covid-19 rules. They have paid a heavy price in fixed penalty notices amounting to nearly HK$90 million. Even as anti-contagion measures are eased or lifted, some rules will still apply. Offenders face paying out millions more. The rules and fines are supposed to deter risky behaviour and safeguard individual and community well-being, not fill government coffers. There is room for some mutual respect and restraint between citizens and the authorities in compliance and enforcement. Police have told lawmakers the force issued 21,613 fixed penalty notices for breaching Covid-19 rules in the first 11 months of the last financial year up to February 28. They fined 1,986 people for breaching social-distancing rules on specified premises, resulting in the collection of HK$7.33 million in fines; 13,525 people over group gatherings (HK$61.54 million in fines); and 6,102 people over not wearing masks (HK$21.1 million in fines). Breaches were subject to a HK$5,000 fixed penalty. The numbers may seem high, but not unduly so relative to the population over 11 months. For every offender caught, however, there is probably more than one who got away with breaching the rules. As anti-Covid measures are lifted, it is important to remember those that remain are there for a reason. There may be widespread frustration and feelings that certain rules are ridiculous, but the system of infection control starts to fall apart if people ignore them. That said, those enforcing the rules could cut some slack for people who are no more than trivial offenders, for example by issuing a warning to someone who briefly removes a mask to recover from a run, or to sip coffee while not seated at a table. Otherwise police could be seen to be overzealous and to undermine confidence in the rules. News that penalties are nearing HK$100 million is a timely reminder to stick to the rules, which need to be applied with a dose of common sense to uphold respect for them, for the sake of public health. After all, case numbers may be trending down, but the pandemic is far from over. It would not be unusual for them to surge again after the Easter break and the easing of restrictions.