Mask jpg

Mask wearing in Ireland to be ‘encouraged’

Don’t forget your mask if you want to go to work. More people in Ireland will be wearing masks as the economy slowly reopens in the next few months. photo.


By Irish Echo Staff

Ireland will begin the first phase of economic reopening on Monday, May 18 with the construction industry and some sports and leisure activities, notably golf and fishing, resuming.

Some businesses will also be reopening, most prominently gardening and DIY centers.

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But what has not been universally prominent in Ireland during the lockdown of recent weeks has been the wearing of masks in public.

Some people are wearing them, many are not. But a reigniting of economic activity will mean more mask wearing as people start to interact to a greater degree than has been the case in recent weeks.

The Irish government’s transport minister, Shane Ross, has stated that it is likely that people will be encouraged to wear masks on public transport and in supermarkets, this according to a report in the online news site,

Speaking in the Dáil, Ross said the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tony Holohan, would make a recommendation on the wearing of face coverings by the end of this week.

“It looks that people will be asked to use coverings on public transport. It may be recommended that coverings be allowed and encouraged in places such as on public transport and in supermarkets,” said Minister Ross.

“There would be positives and negatives to such a recommendation but guidance is needed,” said the minister.

He said the issue must be monitored very carefully because the government does not know what the demand will be like.

“It is very difficult to know whether people will be reluctant to go on buses or whether they will move to their private cars.

“It is being monitored very closely. We are very confident about phase one. Phase two is coming a few weeks later and adjustments will be made accordingly,” he added.

Earlier this month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the wearing of a face mask will not be compulsory if it is introduced.

While other countries have recommended the wearing of masks, the taoiseach, who is a medical doctor, has said the science is equivocal.

“Some people will say it is a good idea and some will say it is a bad idea. It is not one of those straightforward decisions where science tells you what the right thing to do is,” he said.

The report stated that The World Health Organization says the use of medical masks in the community may create a false sense of security and lead to a neglect in hand hygiene and physical distancing.

The taoiseach has also raised concerns that any encouragement to wear face masks could jeopardize supply to healthcare workers if there is a large uptake by the general public.

In the U.S., the wearing of face masks varies in frequency across the country, though in New York City it is now mandatory and in communities surrounding the city masks are also being required by most supermarkets and stores.