People should wear face coverings when travelling on public transport in Kilkenny and elsewhere to protect themselves and others from Covid-19, according to Fine Gael TD, John Paul Phelan.
Deputy Phelan said, “The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has signed the Health Act for the mandatory wearing of face covering on public transport.
“The regulations, which come into effect from July 13, provide that members of the public shall not, without reasonable excuse, travel by public transport without wearing a face covering.
“Where a passenger is not wearing a face covering, a relevant person under the regulations may request the passenger to wear a face covering, refuse the passenger entry to the public transport vehicle, or may request the passenger to alight from the vehicle.
“A passenger must comply with these requests or they will be met with a refusal of entry. Failure to comply is an offence. People travelling via private modes of transportation such as taxis in Kilkenny are also encouraged to wear a face covering.
“The people of Kilkenny have done so well in following public health advice since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and we have managed to flatten the curve thanks to our combined efforts.
“But we must continue to remain vigilant and to protect ourselves and our communities in Kilkenny city and county by continuing to follow public health advice and doing simple things that will make the difference between us keeping the virus suppressed or going backwards.
“The regulations for the mandatory wearing of a face covering on public transport do not apply to children under the age of 13. Reasonable excuse where a face covering cannot be worn includes;
-where a person cannot put one on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness, impairment or disability or without severe distress
- needs to communicate with another person who has difficulties communicating removes the face covering
- removes the face covering to provide emergency assistance or to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
- removes the face covering to take medication
Anyone who fails to comply with a request to wear a face covering on public transport or any related direction is deemed to have committed an offence. On summary conviction, the potential sanctions are a jail sentence of up to six months and/or a maximum fine of €2,500.