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Face coverings to be made compulsory on public transport

The recommendation will go before Cabinet ministers tomorrow.

Image: RollingNews.ie

FACE COVERINGS ARE set to be made mandatory for travel on public transport under new rules being brought to cabinet tomorrow. 

The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet tomorrow to discuss easing restrictions in the third phase of the roadmap.

It will then make a number of recommendations to Government. A decision to make face coverings on public transport mandatory is expected to be signed off on by Cabinet ministers when they meet tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, a Cabinet sub-committee today agreed to ease restrictions on air travel to some countries within Europe from July.

It is understood restrictions will be eased where ‘air bridges’ are established. The air bridges will link Ireland with other countries in Europe where the spread of Covid-19 has been similarly suppressed. 

TheJournal.ie reported previously that air bridge deals could be struck with France, Portugal, Germany, and perhaps Greece. Government officials have already begun talks with other countries, the Taoiseach has confirmed. 

The latest move from Cabinet comes following a recommendation by the Taskforce for Aviation Recovery to have all restrictions on air travel, including the two-week quarantine rule for inbound passengers to Ireland, to be scrapped. 

The taskforce warned Ireland is “at risk of being set adrift” if it does not lift restrictions on airline passengers on 1 July.  

However, a timeline for easing restrictions on travel to countries with ‘air bridges’ is not yet known. 

The government’s official advice, which is regularly cited by both Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, is for Irish citizens to avoid all non-essential travel. 

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In the taskforce’s report, however, it recommends the government should “urgently clarify the process and milestones to be reached to ease the travel restrictions which are currently in place for non-essential air travel. This urgent clarification should then facilitate the easing of travel restrictions, ideally by 1 July 2020″.

The two-week quarantine rule has sparked anger among airlines, including Aer Lingus and Ryanair, which claimed it was unnecessary and effectively unenforceable. Currently, the quarantine period is a government guideline and is not mandatory. 

Earlier today, the Department of Health confirmed there have been a further six deaths from Covid-19 in Ireland as well as five new confirmed cases. 

With reporting from Christina Finn

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