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Government confirms face coverings will be mandatory for passengers on public transport

It follows weeks of criticism that not enough people were wearing face coverings while on public transport.

Image: Sam Boal

THE GOVERNMENT HAS announced that the use of face coverings is to be made mandatory on public transport.

The measure was signed off by members of Cabinet today following weeks of criticism that passengers on trains, buses and the Luas were not using face coverings while travelling. 

“Government has only decided in the last hour or so to take this step. On the recommendation of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, we now intend to move forward under the emergency health regulations… to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory on public transport,” Health Minister Simon Harris said. 

“There will by the virtue of it being a law and mandatory, there will be sanctioning but I’m not yet in a position to detail how some of those issues around enforcement or sanction will work. 

“My department will be taking instruction from the Department of Transport in terms of how they see this working.”

The National Public Health Emergency Team recommended that from Phase 2 face coverings should be used while on public transport or in busy locations such as supermarkets. 

That advice came after weeks of the chief medical officer and Cabinet ministers suggesting that there wasn’t enough evidence around the effectiveness of face masks and coverings as a tool to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Since then, the Irish government has begun a media campaign to encourage a greater uptake among the Irish public. 

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While the use of face coverings on public transport is mandatory, the Government is encouraging everyone to wear a face covering while out in public locations. 

“I have no doubt next week will be a week of people meeting up… no matter where they live in this country,” Harris said. “Increased movement, increase interaction as our chief medical officer has said carries with it increased risk,” Harris said.  

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