Face coverings mandatory in shops and other indoor settings from today

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It is now mandatory to wear a face covering in shops, hairdressers, cinemas and museums.

THE USE OF face coverings in supermarkets, shopping centres and other indoor settings is now mandatory. 

The measure was agreed by Cabinet members a number of weeks ago and comes into effect from today. 

Staff must also wear face coverings unless a partition or a two-metre distance is in place between customers and staff. 

People who do not wear a face covering or anyone who ignores a request to wear one can face a fine of up to €2,500 and/or up to six months imprisonment. 

Other indoor facilities in which customers must now wear face coverings include hairdressers, cinemas, libraries, bingo halls and museums. 

These rules do not apply to certain people such as children aged under 13. The legislation will remain in place until 5 October. 

The mandatory use of face coverings on public transport was implemented last month. 

The acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, said yesterday: “We know that most people are already wearing face coverings and we hope to see even greater uptake over the coming days.

“Time and again people have shown their willingness to follow public health guidance in the interest of protecting each other from this disease. Wearing a face covering is just one more way in which people can demonstrate their solidarity with one another as we seek to suppress the spread of Covid-19.”

Last week, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said there would be “very little need” to police the wearing of face coverings as he believes the public will comply with the new regulations.

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There has been a rise in Covid-19 cases in certain counties in the Midlands in recent weeks following outbreaks at meat factories and other facilities. 

Regional restrictions in Kildare, Laois and Offaly came into effect on Saturday following an increase in cases over the past two weeks. 

Residents in these three counties are advised not to travel outside of their county in a bid to prevent transmission of the virus.

People are asked to only undertake essential travel, such as to attend medical appointments, for vital family reasons, for farming purposes or to travel to and from work that cannot be done from home. 

Measures such as local test centres and additional pop-up centres have been put in place to prevent further spread of the disease. Isolation facilities are also being provided for people who can’t self-isolate at home. 

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