Compulsory use of masks on pubic transport should be mandatory – Crowe

A LOCAL TD believes that the compulsory use of masks on public transport should be made mandatory for the foreseeable future.

Dublin South West TD Sean Crowe recently asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport through a parliamentary question if a response will be issued to requests from bus and rail unions regarding the compulsory use of masks on public transport.

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Mother and child wearing masks on public transport

In a reply to the Sinn Fein TD, Minister Shane Ross said: “The National Transport Authority (NTA) has been working with all transport operators to ensure service continuity, and in this they continue to be guided by the public health advice, including in relation to enhanced cleaning regimes and social distancing measures across the network.”

The Minister referenced the Taoiseach’s announcement made on May 15 concerning new public health advice on the first phase of re-openings.

This advice, according to the Minister, was based on the considerations of the National Public Health Emergency Team and presented in a letter from the Chief Medical Officer to the Minister for Health.

“The public health advice recommends that members of the public wear face coverings when they are using busy public transport or are in enclosed indoor public areas such as retail outlets”, the Minister said.

“This is recommended as an additional hygiene measure. 

“This public health advice takes the form of a recommendation; it is not mandatory.”

Following the Minister’s response, Deputy Crowe said that the mandatory wearing of masks on all public transports is a “no brainer” and should be agreed by Minister Ross and his Cabinet colleagues.

“Bus and Rail Unions have taken the lead on behalf of their members and commuters by calling for the mandatory wearing of masks on all public transport”, Deputy Crowe said.

“I cannot understand the reluctance of Minister Ross to make the wearing of masks mandatory and I can only think that this reticence is down to availability or a shortage of masks.

“People want to return to some semblance of normality, but they also need to have and feel confident about our public transport system.

“The wearing of masks will also provide additional safety cover to drivers and other staff who work on our transport services.”

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