Health Minister responds to RGDATA re mandatory face masks

Health Minister responds to RGDATA re mandatory face masks
Mandatory masks

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has responded to RGDATA’s letter regarding introducing penal sanctions for shoppers who refuse to wear face masks without reasonable excuse.

“The public health advice relating to Covid-19, including that relating to face coverings, is kept under continuing review by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). A person, without reasonable excuse, must now wear a face covering when using public transport, in retail outlets, shops and shopping centres, in other indoor spaces such as libraries, cinemas and cinema complexes, theatres, concert halls, bingo halls, museums, businesses carrying out cosmetic nail care or nail styling, hair care or hair styling, tattoo and piercing services, travel agents and tour operators, laundries and dry cleaners and licensed bookmakers” he said in the correspondence.

Regulations and Legislation

The relevant Regulation is the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (Face Coverings in certain premises and businesses) Regulations 2020 (S.I No. 404/2020)

The retail and other business Regulations (Statutory Instrument SI No. 404 of 2020) provide that it is a matter for the occupier, manager or person in charge to take all reasonable steps to engage with persons entering or in a relevant premises to inform them of the requirements to wear a face covering and to promote compliance with the requirement. It is therefore a matter for the management of the retail operator concerned to decide what he/she may accept in terms of a reason for not wearing a face covering.

Penal provision

“The requirement to wear a face covering in the situations described is a penal provision for the purposes of section 31A of the Health Act 1947 (No. 28 of 1947). Enforcement is a matter for An Garda Síochána” concluded the letter to RGDATA.

The current face covering advice is available at: · Yours sincerely, Miriam Rooney Private Secretary to the Minister for Health