Mandatory wearing of face coverings in shops takes effect from today

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Woman in a supermarket. Lady in a respirator. Girl makes parchases.
Food photo created by prostooleh - www.freepik.com

FACE coverings are mandatory from today, Monday, August 10, in shops, shopping centres and indoor settings across the country to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The mandatory wearing of face coverings comes into effect following an announcement by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin last week that the nation would not be moving into phase 4 of reopening.

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“As we have seen with face coverings on public transport and the many other requests that have been made of citizens over the course of the pandemic when people are given a clear direction, they follow it,” An Taoiseach said.

Government has also said the wearing of face coverings is also “recommended in situations where it is difficult to practise social distancing”, saying the wearing of “cloth face coverings” can help prevent people who do not know they have the virus from spreading to others.

People in breach of the rules could face fines up to €2,500 or six months imprisonment, but Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said An Gara Síochána would only intervene as a “last resort”.

The Taoiseach’s announcement that Ireland would not move to phase 4 of reopening the country means pubs, bars, hotel bars, nightclubs and casinos are to remain closed.

An Taoiseach said the announcement would come as “bitter disappointment to many people” after Cabinet agreed to keep current public health measures in place.

He announced, “Also, the current restrictions on numbers attending indoor and outdoors gatherings will remain unchanged. We will review the evidence again in three weeks’ time.

“I know that this will come as a blow to pub owners and I want them to know that I have enormous sympathy for their plight. This virus is taking away their ability to earn a living. It is stopping them from providing a key service in the heart of many communities, especially in rural Ireland.”