Passengers legally required to wear face coverings on public transport from Monday
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Passengers legally required to wear face coverings on public transport from Monday

FROM MONDAY, it will be mandatory for passengers to wear face coverings while using public transport in Ireland. 

The regulations were signed into law on Friday evening, making them legally enforceable on buses and trains from next week. 

Taoiseach Micheal Martin confirmed the introduction of new directives following a meeting with Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and CEO of the HSE Paul Reid. 

Plans for a winter initiative to help combat any potential second surge in the virus were also discussed including plans for how to best prepare hospitals and the healthcare system. 

Mr Martin admitted that winter could pose a series of complex problems related to Covid-19. 

He was keen to stress, however, that the Irish government would continue to maintain its cautious approach in tackling the virus. 

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The decision to make masks mandatory on public transport comes under that directive, with Mr Martin expressing concern over a recent increase in cases originating from these settings. 

It also comes in the wake of a worrying report from the National Transport Authority that showed only half of all bus passengers in Dublin were adhering to government advice on wearing a mask. 

Bus Eireann services have reported a high uptake in mask use on their services with anywhere between 75% and 98% of passengers on services in the greater Dublin area wearing masks. 

However, just 60% of Irish Rail customers have been wearing face coverings on services coming in and out of Heuston Station.