'Don't be a jerk, wear the mask': Simon Harris condemns abuse of retail workers by customers

'Don't be a jerk, wear the mask': Simon Harris condemns abuse of retail workers by customers

SIMON HARRIS has condemned any attacks on retail workers who ask customers to wear face coverings while shopping.

The former Minister for Health took to Twitter where he revealed he had been approached by a "very upset" supermarket staff member who had been abused for reminding a customer that face coverings were now mandatory while shopping.

The new rules came into effect yesterday and states that face masks or coverings must be worn in indoor public spaces, including supermarkets, cinemas and museums.

As has been seen in the Unites States, some people become aggressive and abusive when told they must wear a mask when shopping or they will be refused service-- and the trend has now apparently spread to Ireland.

"Just back from a supermarket where I met a very upset staff member who had politely reminded a shopper of the need to wear a face mask," the former Minister for Health wrote.

"A message which was not well received.

"Our supermarket staff have been doing trojan work throughout the pandemic.

"Don't be a jerk, wear the mask."

The new rules affect everyone over the age of 13 who is in an indoor public space, unless they have "exceptional circumstances".

Retail staff do not have to enforce the rules, however shops are within their right to refuse service to anyone who does not abide by the public health guidelines.

The new measures come as Ireland's rate of coronavirus infections have surpassed that of the UK, following a surge in cases linked to outbreaks in meat and food processing factories.

Kildare, Offaly and Laois have gone back into semi-lockdown in order to curb the spread of the outbreaks to other counties, and the restrictions could go on longer than two weeks if the numbers do not go down, the Acting Chief Medical Officer has stated.