Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.59 16 Jul 2020


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Face masks are compulsory in shops and shopping centres in the latest move to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

The Government announced on Wednesday that face coverings should be worn by all customers and staff - unless there is a partition between them and members of the public, or where there is a distance of two metres.

Regulations with details on enforcement and penalties are in the process of being drafted.

Newstalk reporter Barry Whyte spoke to customers at Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin for The Hard Shoulder.

One woman said: "Personally I think it's a good idea, because I work in a grocery store and it just gives everyone a sense of comfort that they know that there's a bit of protection between themselves and the customers and stuff.

"I can understand that it's annoying and it does take a while to get used to wearing one, but I think for the moment it's better to be safe than sorry".

Another woman said: "I think it's sort of about time - I wear a mask in general when I go into a shopping centre.

"I'm stopping myself from spreading, if I had the virus, to someone else - but then people could be up walking behind me, people aren't really adhering to social distancing in shops because it's quite hard".

One man said he wears a mask "mainly when I'm using public transport or just going into any shop.

"When I'm walking on my way home or something I just take it off".

Another man said: "I probably wouldn't wear them walking around, but definitely in shops and everything because then it reduces [risk], because there's lots of people around you".

Conor McDaid is retail manager at Dundrum Town Centre: "Since re-opening we've had a lot of challenges with our one-way system, getting customers to social distance and we've found them to be very complaint.

"So once they're reminded, we've had no problem - so we expect the same will apply to face masks.

"We're not going to enforce it very strongly because we see customers generally complying with the best practice."

"If they weren't social distancing or if they were congregating in big groups we would deal with that as an issue.

"But not specifically for face masks, no".

"Policing would be the wrong word, I think encourage would be the right word to use, and compliance has been good so far".

Arnold Dillion is the director of Retail Ireland: "Throughout this crisis the safety and health of our customers and staff has always been the priority.

"So retailers are absolutely happy to go along with these new guidelines and new rules on face coverings."

"There are a couple of concerns that retailers do have about the new rules - one in particular is around enforcement.

"Unfortunately there are instances from time to time where retail staff do suffer from abuse and even violence from customers.

"And it's really important I think that retail staff aren't put in a position where they have to enforce these rules and potentially be exposed to those sort of disputes".

"I think retailers are very happy to encourage staff, and potentially necessary signage.

"But I think when it comes to enforcement I think we need the authorities to do that.

"We've seen in the UK those issues have been raised and have been addressed, and we'd like to see a similar approach here".

'Policing would be the wrong word' - Are people wearing face masks in shops?

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: A shopper wearing a face covering on Oxford Street in London, England. Picture by: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

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Arnold Dillion Barry Whyte Compulsory Conor McDaid Dundrum Town Centre Face Coverings Face Masks Shoppers Shopping Centres Shops

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