Face Masks Become Compulsory in Shops in Ireland From July 20 i

queuing for face masks

The Government announced that face coverings must now be worn in all shops, retail settings and shopping centres.  People are strongly advised to start obeying the guidance immediately, but regulations will take time to draft.

Regulations to enforce the compulsory wearing of face coverings on public transport have come into effect this week.

Cabinet Meeting

Following a Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle, Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced the new measures after confirming that Ireland will not progress to Phase 4 of lifting coronavirus restrictions. Cabinet agreed that current health measures on Covid-19 should remain in place until 10 August.

Mr Martin announced that retail staff will be required to wear face coverings unless there is a partition in place or a space of two metres between them and customers.

Retail Organisation’s Response

Retail Ireland said that when it comes to enforcement of the measures, it is “crucial that it does not fall to retail staff to ensure compliance”.

Organisation’s director, Arnold Dillon, said enforcement of the measures should be left to the appropriate authorities and retail staff should not be exposed to “the potential disputes and discord that might arise”.

The following further information has been made available from the Department of Health in response to some queries from retailers and other businesses, which you may find helpful:

  • The use of face coverings in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres is for the protection and safety of both shoppers and staff alike. Face coverings may help in preventing people who do not know they have the virus from spreading it to others. In enclosed indoor spaces such as shops, they are an added measure where keeping a physical distance of 2m is difficult or not practical.
  • Face coverings are not a replacement for essential personal behaviours like cough/sneeze etiquette or washing your hands regularly, but an additional support in suppressing COVID-19 in the community as we work together to reopen our country’s retail outlets safely and to protect retail staff.
  • Until the Regulations are signed to bring this measure into law, retailers can let customers into their stores without a face covering.
  • Retailers cannot refuse to serve a customer on the basis of not wearing a covering until these Regulations come into effect.
  • The Regulations are currently being prepared and enforcement matters are being considered. Alongside of Regulations, the aim is to inform customers and staff on public health advice and focus on encouragement towards compliance for everyone’s collective benefit.
  • There is no onus on retailers to provide masks or coverings.
  • If the retail outlet has provided a protective Perspex screen between the staff member and customers, or a Perspex visor for staff to wear, there is no need for the staff members to wear a face covering.


Latest Evidence for Wearing Face Masks

A UK study found population-wide face mask use could push transmission down to controllable levels, and prevent further Covid waves when combined with minor lockdowns.

A US study found if 80 per cent of a closed population were to don a mask, infection rates would statistically drop to approximately one-twelfth the number of infections compared to “a live-virus population” in which no one wore masks.

Immunologist and founder-director of Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Professor Luke O’Neill in talking about the Coronavirus pandemic, clears up some potentially confusing stories and notions around the virus.

He talks about the three Cs. The three Cs were popularised in Japan and are a handy guide to staying safe.

“Avoid the three Cs and you decrease your risk massively”:

Closed spaces, that’s indoors.

Close contact between people.


Emerging evidence prompted the World Health Organisation to strengthen advice in favour of face masks.

A University of Edinburgh study recently found masks can limit how far exhaled breath travels out by up to 90 per cent, while another study found the daily growth rate of infections fell by 40 per cent after mask use was made compulsory in the German city of Jena.


Best Advice on Wearing Face Masks

Face masks do not need to be worn in the open air but should be worn routinely where physical distancing is not possible. A mask protects the public from the wearer who might not know they are contagious.

Medical-grade masks are the most effective barrier. Evidence on the protective value of single-use paper masks or reusable cloth coverings is less clear, but still suggests they can contribute to reducing transmission.

For those over 60, whose immune system is weakening coinciding with ageing, and those with underlying conditions, the case is clear-cut. Moreover, they should wear medical-grade masks.

Our face mask Re-useable face masks