The Regulation around the enforcement of the requirement to wear a face covering on public transport has been signed by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.
This means that the requirement for public transport passengers to wear a face covering has full legal effect from Monday 13th July.
NTA CEO Anne Graham said: “The clear and consistent message is that face coverings on public transport make journeys safer for passengers and for workers. This Regulation will increase people’s confidence in public transport and encourage more people back on to our buses, trams and trains.
“The take-up of face coverings on public transport in recent weeks has been encouraging, with up to 90% compliance on some services, and we would like to thank those customers for responding so positively.
“The signing of this Regulation will enable us to get the message out loud and clear that face coverings must be worn. A major part of our focus this week is on education, awareness and giving our passengers every encouragement to comply.
“We are asking people to do the right thing and exercise their personal responsibility. My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.”
The Regulation applies to all bus and rail services provided under contract with the National Transport Authority (NTA), Luas services and commercial bus services licensed by the NTA.
As and from Monday 13th July, it is the case that authorised staff, including drivers and ticket inspectors may refuse entry to a person who is not wearing a face covering. Authorised persons may also ask a passenger who refuses to wear a face covering, to leave the vehicle.
These Regulations provide that members of the public who are 13 years old or older shall wear a face covering on public transport unless they have a reasonable excuse. Details of what constitutes a reasonable excuse are specified in the Regulation. These are where:
(a) the person cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering – (i) because of any physical or mental illness, impairment, or disability, or (ii) without severe distress,
(b) the person needs to communicate with a person who has difficulties communicating (in relation to speech, language or otherwise)
(c) the person removes the face covering to provide emergency assistance or to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
(d) the person removes the face covering to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury
(e) the person removes the face covering in order to, and only for the time required to, take medication.