Businesses need clear guidance on enforcement procedures for face coverings

11 August 2020

Businesses need clear guidance on enforcing rules mandating customers to wear face coverings according to Labour Enterprise Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“While the new guidelines introduced yesterday are welcome and shop owners are reporting strong compliance with the regulations, businesses need guidance on what to do if a customer refuses to wear a face covering.

“The wearing of face coverings has been obligatory on public transport since the middle of July and if a public transport user refuses to comply there are structured mechanisms that have been put in place to report and deal with non-compliance such as in the case of bus driver’s, who can report an incidence of a passenger refusing to wear a mask to the control centre who would then establish whether the customer had unreasonably refused to wear a mask and escalate the incident accordingly.

“However, in the case of the regulations introduced at the weekend governing shops and other indoor settings there is no such mechanism for establishing whether a customer has refused to comply with the requirements without a reasonable excuse.

“When queried on this, the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said that if an individual remains inside a shop without a mask, the owner or staff would have to engage with them with the gardaí being called as a ‘last resort’.

“This is very concerning to business owners who have told me that they cannot enforce these regulations in the absence of a clear set of guidelines and a mechanism to enforce them. The responsibility to enforce these new guidelines cannot lie with business owners and their staff who have very valid concerns for their personal safety.

Ó Ríordáin continued:

“The Tánaiste must publish a clear set of guidelines for enforcing these rules and a robust enforcement procedure for establishing that a customer has refused a reasonable request to wear a mask.


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