Clearly communicated plan needed for the wearing of masks

15 July 2020

The Government needs to put in place a clearly communicated advisory plan for the wearing of face-masks according to Labour Spokesperson on Transport, Communication Networks and Climate Action Duncan Smith. Deputy Smith was speaking after the news that the wearing of face coverings is to be made compulsory in shops and other indoor settings.

Deputy Smith said:

“I welcome the news that the wearing of face coverings is to be made mandatory in shops as face-masks are a vital piece of armour in our fight against Covid-19.

“However, what is needed is a clearly communicated advisory plan on the wearing of masks in all settings. We have seen the effects of weeks of mixed messaging around mask wearing with an initial low uptake on public transport because people were unsure as to whether they had to wear them or not.

“We cannot keep relying on a drip feed of information and an ad hoc policy on mask wearing. In order to ensure compliance, the Government need to announce guidelines backed up with a clear information campaign around the wearing of masks.

“This is a welcome if overdue measure that will bring Ireland into line with major European nations who introduced compulsory mask wearing some months ago. It will also help to protect frontline retail staff from the dangers of contracting Covid-19.

“I have already stated on the record of the Dáil that I believe households should be given a supply of reusable face-masks and I would like to reiterate that call along with the need for a clear, concise advertising campaign to educate and advise people around the wearing of masks.

Smith continued:

“With the R Number rising above 1 again, wearing face-masks should be an act of social solidarity and the Government should lead that call. More needs to be done to ensure they are more commonly used and while this decision by the Government is welcome, a comprehensive public information campaign is needed to drive the message home.

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