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Harris says those who can wear face coverings 'really should'

The Minister for Health has said he is "a little bit concerned" about the uptake of the wearing of face coverings among the public. 

Simon Harris said this evening there is "very clear public health advice" on this, and that if people are using public transport or going into shops or supermarkets, then they "should wear a face covering". 

He acknowledged there are some people like children, and those with certain medical conditions or disabilities, who cannot wear face coverings. 

However, he said "for those of us who can wear one, we really should". 

Mr Harris said while the advice around face coverings is not mandatory, he said that Irish people have changed a lot of our behaviours recently that have not been mandatory and encouraged people to listen to the public health advice. 

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan this evening said public health officials recommend that masks be worn "in retail settings, in other indoor settings, where social distancing might be a challenge and on public transport".

He said "it's an important additional hygiene measure" but it does not take the place of all the other measures in place but this can give additional protection in the situations where maintaining the other requirements might be challenging.

He reiterated the importance of putting masks on and off and cleaning them appropriately. He said that shops and retail environments might take steps to remind people of the importance of wearing masks.

Earlier, Mr Harris warned that progress against the coronavirus is "still fragile" as Ireland moves into phase two of the plan to reopen the country.

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