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'We're asking people to do the right thing': Face coverings now mandatory for drivers and passengers in taxis

Drivers of taxis are entitled to refuse carriage to somebody not wearing a face covering under new regulations.

FACE COVERINGS ARE now mandatory in all taxis, hackneys and limousines after a regulation signed by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

It follows updated guidance from the government late last month asking people to wear face masks or coverings on “busy streets”.

At the time, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said making face coverings a requirement on public transport and in shops has had an “incredibly positive impact” and was being expanded as a result. 

Under the new regulation signed today, drivers of taxis are entitled to refuse carriage to somebody not wearing a face covering, and are entitled to curtail a journey if a passenger removes their face covering enroute.

The driver of the taxi doesn’t have to wear one when the vehicle isn’t in use as a taxi, or when they’re alone in the vehicle. But they must wear one at all other times. 

National Transport Authority CEO Anne Graham said: “The clear and consistent message is that face coverings make journeys safer for passengers and for drivers.

“We asked about Covid risk in a recent survey and 92% of current customers said they felt safe in taxi.

“We believe that this regulation will increase people’s confidence in the SPSV sector, and encourage more people back into our taxis. The take-up of face coverings in taxis is already very high, and we would like to thank those customers for responding so positively.”

Graham added that the regulation would help to get the message out “loud and clear” that face coverings must be worn. 

“We are asking people to do the right thing and exercise their personal responsibility,” she added. “My mask protects you. Your mask protects me, so remember to put one on before you get into the car.”

There are a number of exceptions where a person isn’t required to wear a face mask on public transport and, now, in taxis.

They include if a person cannot wear one due to a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability. It also includes instances where a person needs to communicate with a person who has difficulties communicating, in relation to speech, language or otherwise.

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