Government considers making face masks ‘a condition of travel’ on public transport

The Government is exploring the possibility of making face masks compulsory on public transport.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Friday that work is being done to see if wearing masks can be “a condition of travel on public transport”.

He said that achieving that was not entirely straightforward as there were public transport bylaws, health laws and other considerations.

He said there were pluses and minuses to making the wearing of masks mandatory. He said they were not suitable for children under 13, or those with breathing difficulties, or for some with disabilities.

He said the Government had given very strong advice they should be worn in places with restricted space and on public transport. He said he would prefer to rely on the willingness of Irish people to comply with guidelines rather than to go into a situation where people were being ordered to comply.

“I really don’t want to be into a position where we are fining or prosecuting people for not wearing face masks.

“We ask people to follow public health advice.

“What we are saying to people is do not get into that space [where non-compliance leads to laws on face masks].

“If you are on public transport wear a mask for face covering,” he said.

Leo Varadkar has previously raised the prospect of opening up air corridors or air bridges, which would effectively allow Irish people to go on foreign holidays to certain countries. File photograph: Kate Geraghty/The Irish Times
Leo Varadkar has previously raised the prospect of opening up air corridors or air bridges, which would effectively allow Irish people to go on foreign holidays to certain countries. File photograph: Kate Geraghty/The Irish Times

The Cabinet is also considering partially lifting the the 14-day quarantine period for people arriving into Ireland from countries where the coronavirus is under control on June 29th.

Mr Varadkar has previously raised the prospect of opening up such air corridors or air bridges, which would effectively allow Irish people to go on foreign holidays to certain countries.

It is understood the initial phase would only apply to European Union countries.