Face coverings to become mandatory on NI public transport

Department of Health reports one further Covid-19 death and seven new cases of disease

A man is pictured wearing a facemask on a Dart in Dublin. Masks are to become mandatory on public transport in Northern Ireland from July 10th, a Minister has announced. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins.

A man is pictured wearing a facemask on a Dart in Dublin. Masks are to become mandatory on public transport in Northern Ireland from July 10th, a Minister has announced. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins.

 

Face coverings will become mandatory on public transport in Northern Ireland from Friday week, Minister of Infrastructure Nichola Mallon has announced.

The SDLP Minister said the measure is part of the gradual easing of the lockdown in Northern Ireland and designed to support efforts to reduce transmission of Covid-19.

She made the announcement on a day when the North’s Department of Health reported one more Covid-19 death, bringing the total to 552. It also reported seven additonal cases of the virus, taking the total to 5,768. A total of 113,283 people have been tested for the disease in Northern Ireland to date.

Ms Mallon said that from July 10th masks will be compulsory for passengers travelling on most bus, train and ferry services in Northern Ireland. Face coverings also will be required in public transport stations.

Exemptions

There will be exemptions for those who are not able to wear a face covering for health and medical reasons, and for children under the age of 13. Outdoor areas of a ferry where social distancing can be maintained will be exempt from the requirements, along with school transport.

The tour coach and taxi industry will be consulted to explore whether the mask requirement should be extended to their vehicles.

Ms Mallon said that a face covering is a covering of any type which covers a person’s nose and mouth, but does not have to be a surgical face mask.

She said that while face coverings can offer protection to others, they are not a substitute for other protective measures and it is important that people continue to follow social distancing and wash or sanitise hands regularly.

“By wearing a face covering you are showing your support and consideration for other passengers and staff,” she said.

“It is important to be aware that wearing face coverings will not be suitable for all members of the public and we need to be sensitive to this and know that reasons for not wearing a face covering may not always be visible.”