From today, people could be fined €2,500 euro for not wearing a mask in shops and shopping centres.
The new rules also apply to indoor retail settings including hairdressers, libraries and cinemas. Children under 13 and people with a disability or physical or mental illness are exempt.
Earlier this summer on The Lift, Dave and Fionnuala chatted to Dr Maitiu O Tuathail about the dos and don’ts around wearing your face mask:
DO: Wash your hands before putting it on
It’s a simple one but Dr Maitiu says it’s vital to remember to wash your hands before you fix on your face mask.
“When it comes to putting the face covering on, the first thing you do is you wash your hands for 20 to 30 seconds”, he advises.
“Make sure your hands are clean … then when it comes to taking the mask off, you wash your hands”.
DON’T: Touch the mask once it’s on your face
Once you fix the mask to your face, just leave it be. Fidgeting with it may actually just do you more harm than good as Dr Maitiu explains:
“The problem with that is if you are, for example, shopping with somebody and somebody has COVID beside you…”
“They cough, that COVID-19 droplet will be deposited in the front of the mask. So it will keep you safe, but if you fidget with the mask repeatedly, and then you touch your eye, or when you take the mask off, you touch your mouth.”
“And actually what you’ve ended up doing is actually infecting yourself with COVID. So it’s really important that when the mask is on, that it’s clean and that you don’t touch the mask until the time to take the mask off.”
DO: Wash your mask afterwards
It may sound obvious but your face mask should be washed after each wear. Here’s what Dr Maitiu advises people to do once they’ve finished wearing their mask for the day:
“When it comes to taking the mask off, you wash your hands. And again, you take the mask off using the ear loops at the back and then you either put the face mask directly into the wash or into a plastic bag.”
“And then wash it in a 60 degree wash. And the final step then again, is to wash your hands.”
DON’T: Just not wear one
“Ah sure, I’m only popping to the shops for a few bits. Be grand.”
Cop on now.