Regulations for the mandatory wearing of face coverings on public transport signed

July 13, 2020 0

Minister for Health signs regulations for the mandatory wearing of face coverings on public transport.  Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, today (Friday 10 July) signed the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (Face Coverings on Public Transport) Regulations 2020 for the mandatory wearing of face covering on public transport.

face-maskThe regulations provide that, from 13 July 2020, members of the public shall not, without reasonable excuse, travel by public transport without wearing a face covering.

Reasonable excuse includes where a person

  • cannot put one on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness, impairment or disability or without severe distress
  • needs to communicate with another person who has difficulties communicating
  • removes the face covering to provide emergency assistance or to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • removes the face covering to take medication.

The Regulations do not apply to children under the age of 13.

Where a passenger is not wearing a face covering, a relevant person under the Regulations may request the passenger to wear a face covering, refuse the passenger entry to the public transport vehicle, or may request the passenger to alight from the vehicle. A passenger must comply with these requests or with a refusal of entry. Failure to comply is an offence.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said;

Mandatory wearing of face coverings on public transport will not only protect staff and passengers alike, but reinforce the need for all of us to embrace new habits during this pandemic. Physical distancing, hand washing, cough/sneeze etiquette and face coverings are small, individual measures that can make a significant difference to many lives.

The wearing of face coverings in appropriate settings is a sign of solidarity to your friends and family, your health service and their staff who continue to be at the frontline of this crisis and solidarity to your country as we all continue in our efforts to suppress this disease.

Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, said;

As we work to safely reopen society, the number of people using public transport will increase. While I am aware that there has been a good response to the wearing of face coverings on public transport services, we need to ensure that everyone complies, with the exception of those who cannot do so for health reasons or due to young age. The mandatory wearing of face coverings will play an important role in ensuring that those who need to travel can do so safely. This is something we can all easily do to help control the virus and protect one another.

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ronan Glynn, said;

When wearing a face covering, ensure your hands are clean before putting on and removing. Do not touch the front of the covering, instead apply and remove the covering using the ear loops. If you require a number of coverings as you go about your day, store used coverings in a plastic, zip lock bag until you can wash them at 60 degrees.

It is important to be aware that some members of the public are unable to wear face coverings due to health reasons or age and should not be criticised or judged for this.

Ensure you are familiar with the appropriate use and disposal of face coverings through reputable sources such as gov.ie/health or hse.ie.

More guidance on the appropriate use of face coverings is available here.

If YOU or SOMEONE YOU KNOW are struggling and need help check out the local help/support available on our dedicated COVID-19 page.