• Physical distancing (keeping at least 2 metres away from other people)

Cloth face coverings

Cloth face coverings may help to stop people who are not aware they have the virus from spreading it. Wearing a cloth face covering in public may reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community. It may help to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets from people infected with COVID-19.

If you have COVID-19 or have symptoms of the virus, you must self-isolate. Do this even if you wear a face covering.

When to wear one

Face coverings must be worn in the following locations:

  • shops
  • supermarkets
  • shopping centres
  • libraries
  • cinemas and cinema complexes
  • theatres
  • concert halls
  • bingo halls
  • museums
  • cosmetic nail care or nail styling
  • hair care or hair styling
  • tattoo and piercing services
  • travel agents and tour operators
  • laundries and dry cleaners
  • licensed bookmakers

Wearing of face coverings is also recommended in the following circumstances:

  • by people visiting the homes of those who are over 70 years of age or who are medically vulnerable
  • by people who are being visited in their homes by those who are over 70 years of age or who are medically vulnerable

The vast majority of people are already wearing face coverings in shops. Shop owners and managers of premises should engage with people entering or in their premises to inform them that they need to wear face coverings and should promote compliance.

To date the Gardaí have adopted an approach of engaging with the public to educate and encourage people to abide by the measures in place and to only use enforcement as a last resort.

The penalty on conviction for not wearing a face covering is up to €2,500 and/or 6 months in prison, but the expectation is that the vast majority of customers will comply and that penalties would only arise in very rare cases.

Posters on use of face coverings are available in English and Irish and can be downloaded here.

Who should not wear one

Cloth face coverings are not suitable for children under the age of 13 and anyone who:
  • has trouble breathing
  • is unconscious or incapacitated
  • is unable to remove it without help
  • has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the face covering

Do not criticise or judge people who are not able to wear a face covering.