Gardaí will not be needed to police face mask compliance says Donnelly

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the vast majority of people were already wearing face coverings in shops.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said that he does not envisage the gardaí being called upon to enforce the mandatory wearing of face masks in shops and shopping centres.

There has not been a need for the gardaí to be involved with the enforcement of masks on public transport so he did not see why they would be necessary in shops.

“They will be the last port of call,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

The vast majority of people are already wearing masks in shops, he said.

“Inevitably people will forget, but we have got to build it into our habits.”

Mr Donnelly said that the focus has to be on keeping people safe, ensuring the reopening of schools and getting the economy open again.

The Government had to take a cautious approach, with Mr Donnelly adding that it was disappointing not to move onto the next stage of reopenings, but they were doing it to keep the country safe.

Mr Donnelly said that his concern was that “things are very finely balanced and could get out of control”.

When asked about the possibility of the easing of restrictions on a regional or county by county basis. He said that he hoped that in time things could be done differently.

Things are very finely balanced and could get out of control.

The Minister said that Nphet had been unanimous and unambiguous in its advice which was based on evidence and the international evidence was that when pubs opened up the virus spread.

On the issue of sporting events and the limit on numbers attending despite the huge capacity of some stadia, Mr Donnelly explained that there was no issue during the game, but what happened before and after the game, people travelling together in cars to the game and congregating before and after.

The reopening of schools was still on course, he said, adding that it remained the Government’s core focus.