Health Minister again refuses to make face coverings mandatory to protect Bank, Credit Union and An Post Staff

15 January 2021
  • Failure to make face coverings mandatory puts health and safety of staff at risk.
  • No action on face coverings for Banks, Credit Unions and An Post staff for over two months despite similar regulation in Northern Ireland and other customer-facing sectors such as retail and hospitality.
  • Minister must immediately publish health advice received and reconsider decision.

Labour Finance Spokesperson Deputy Ged Nash said:

“Two months ago, I asked the Minister for Health to request mandatory face coverings in banks – but no action was taken despite the valid concerns of financial services workers at the time.

“Yet again, the Minister for Health has confirmed to me in a response to a recent parliamentary question on the issue that he is unwilling to act for “public health and security reasons”.

“This decision shows a complete disregard for the health and safety of banking, credit union and An Post staff who have continued to serve their communities in the midst of rapidly rising COVID-19 case numbers.

“There seems to be no logic to this decision. Security concerns have been alluded to, but if those in other customer facing settings are required to wear masks then why not in banks too so as to protect staff?

“Face coverings have already been made mandatory in Northern Ireland months ago and we have seen no such security concerns expressed by the Northern Ireland authorities.

“It makes absolutely no sense when we consider the rules on face coverings for other customer-facing sectors such as retail and hospitality. Why should banking, credit union and An Post staff be treated less favourably?

““We have already seen some branches and post offices close due to cases amongst staff. It is inevitable that more staff will needlessly become infected and/or infect others with COVID-19 as a result of this dangerous decision which defies the general public health advice.

“The Minister must immediately reconsider this decision and clarify the public health advice as called for by the Financial Services Union and their members. We cannot afford to delay any longer and financial services staff deserve better.”

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