Public advised to wear face coverings in shops and on transport


An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has advised the public to wear face coverings when going on public transport and when in an enclosed space.

However, wearing a face covering is not going to be a legal requirement. Speaking at a briefing this evening, Varadkar commented, “The science around it indicates that it may be beneficial but it’s certainly no substitute for all of the other things like washing your hands, social distancing and respiratory etiquette. 

He also stressed that there are people who physically cannot wear a face covering for numerous reasons, “Some people who will have allergies to face masks and face coverings, and things like that, and we have to bear that in mind.”

They have urged the public not to wear the medical face masks as they are needed for healthcare workers.

People with breathing difficulties, children under 13, people who are incapacitated and those who are unable to remove masks without help should NOT wear them.

People should wash their hands properly before putting a mask on. Your mouth and nose must be covered by the mask and it should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face. 

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan stressed that wearing a mask is another measure to combat the spread of the virus, not a "silver bullet" to beat the virus. He said, “We cannot regard face coverings as some kind of magic shield in relation to this disease.”

Hand washing, practising proper sneezing and coughing etiquette is essential. Social distancing and following the measures of phase one are also essential in combating the spread of the virus.

The Government has also stressed that we must continue to limit social interactions and stay at home as much as possible. “Phase 1 doesn’t mean we should all rush to a garden centre at once,” Minister Harris quipped.

Click here for more information on face-covering advice.