Face coverings now mandatory in shops

Also mandatory in other indoor settings
  • Deborah Condon

Face coverings are now mandatory in shops and other indoor settings, such as cinemas and hair dressers.

Workers in these businesses must also wear face coverings unless they are able to keep two metres away from people, or are separated from others by a screen.

The new regulations apply to a number of indoor settings, including all shops and shopping centres, dry cleaners, cinemas, bookmakers, hairdressers, nail bars and tattoo parlours.

Those who do not comply could face fines of up to €2,500 or six months in jail.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health has said that a range of supports have been put in place for people living in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. People in these three counties have been in lockdown since midnight on Friday night after a surge in cases linked to local food processing plants and Direct Provision centres.

As a result, people living there are not permitted to travel outside of their counties expect in limited circumstances. These are:
-To travel to and from work if they cannot work from home
-For vital family reasons, such as caring for children or the elderly.
-To attend medical appointments, or to collects medicines
-For farming purposes, including care of animals.

Restaurants and bars serving foods are closed, except in the case of takeaways. Cinemas, gyms, theatres and museums have also closed. However, all retail outlets have remained open as long as public health guidelines are followed.

According to the department, a range of supports are now in place in the three counties, including:

-Significant testing is underway across all facilities connected with outbreaks and all close contacts of those that have tested positive

-Local testing centres are open and additional pop-up centres have been put in place by the National Ambulance Service
-The HSE's regional Community Response Teams are providing communications and any necessary support to long-term residential care facilities in the counties, including all nursing homes, both public and private. There is also ongoing communication with GPs in the area
-Isolation facilities are being provided for those who cannot self-isolate in their homes or communal settings.
-HSE local outbreak control teams are in place for all outbreaks and are actively engaging and coordinating with relevant agencies and facility management.

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, said that he "fully understands the disappointment and frustration that people in these regions and beyond are feeling".

"However, it was vital to act now before the virus spread further into the community - to protect public health, to protect vulnerable groups, including those in nursing homes, and to keep the reopening of schools and the recommencement of health and social care services on track," he added.


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