FACE MASKS or coverings are mandatory in shops, cinemas and other indoor public settings from today.
The measures, introduced to slow the spread of Covid-19, applies to everyone over the age of 13, unless a person has a reasonable excuse or is a worker separated from others by a screen or is able to keep a two metre distance from others.
Under the new measures, face masks must be worn by members of the public in indoor public settings, including shops, shopping centres, cinemas, libraries, museums, hair dressers, bookmakers and tattoo parlours.
The use of masks by the public has soared in recent weeks, however from today, anyone not complying with the wearing of coverings face fines of up to €2,500 or six months in jail.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has assured people that Garda intervention will be used as a last resort, however he stressed the importance of wearing a mask, particularly at a time when a surge in cases has seen three counties-- Kildare, Offaly and Laois-- return to lockdown after multiple outbreaks, mostly in meat factories.
Yesterday evening, a further 68 cases of Covid-19 were identified within the community, bringing the total number in Ireland to 26.712.
There were no deaths reported, with Ireland's toll remaining at 1,772.