If you don’t already own a mask you’ll need to get one.
Face coverings will now be compulsory for customers and staff in all shops and indoor settings in Ireland, following a decision made in Cabinet this evening.
In line with the latest advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team, Government ministers agreed on a proposal to ramp up rules regarding the wearing of face masks on public transport, brought in on Monday.
Anyone who fails to comply with those rules risks fines of up to €2,500 or six months of jail time.
Similar rules come into force in Northern Ireland on Friday, when anyone entering a shop or indoor business will be required to wear a face covering. Earlier today, the Mandate trade union said the compulsory wearing of face masks was essential to protect retail workers.
Announcing the move, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the risk of coronavirus is a “growing worry”.
Phase 4 delayed until August
Another 14 additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed this evening, with two further deaths from the virus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 25,683.
With cases increasing and experts warning that Ireland is entering a second wave of the outbreak, the Phase Four opening of the remaining 3,500 bars, nightclubs and casinos across the country has been delayed until at least August 10th.
The limit on large gatherings was due to be increased from 50 people indoors to 100 and 200 to 500 outdoors on July 20th. The limit will now remain at 50 and 200 until further notice.
House parties are also discouraged, with visitor numbers in private homes restricted to ten people from no more than four different households.
The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, which represents 4,000 publicans across the country, has described the decision to delay Phase Four as a “shocking development that will have huge ramifications for family-run pubs”.
Irish holidaymakers have also been advised against all non-essential foreign travel as efforts continue to halt a second wave of infections.
Why wear a mask?
According to the Department of Health, wearing a cloth face-covering in public “may reduce the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the community. It may help to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets from people infected with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).”
The HSE also says that cloth face coverings may help to stop people who are not aware they have the virus from spreading it.