Explainer - What are Donegal gardaí expected to do if someone won't or isn't wearing a face mask?

Who is responsible for ensuring that regulations are being adhered to? We can offer you some answers....

Are gardaí responsible for making people wear their masks?

Who is responsible for ensuring that masks are being worn?

Regulations making face coverings mandatory in shops and other indoor public settings have been in place since Monday, August 10. 

The regulations are similar to those which were introduced earlier relating to those using public transport. 

Those who are found to be in breach of the rules can be fined up to €2,500 or face six months imprisonment. 

The regulations apply to shops, supermarkets, shopping centres, retail outlets, hairdressers, nail bars, museums, libraries, and cinemas.

Disposable face coverings should not be worn more than once, and reusable cloth masks should be washed after use at 60 degrees.

Sergeant Charlene Anderson said that the new law makes it mandatory for people to wear face coverings in certain business premises. 

"The legislation would suggest that the manager, the owner or indeed the person in charge of the premises, it is their duty to ensure compliance. We are all in this together and it is in everybody's interest that we work together."

She said that An Garda Síochána have been given powers in relation to the enforcement of the new regulation. 

"We will go to the premises, we will speak to the person, we will engage with them, we will try and direct the person to take such steps that are reasonably necessary, we are fully aware that there are people, in society, that cannot wear face masks and there are exemptions for them under the act but again the premises themselves, they have an obligations to get people to adhere to compliance levels. We are there, we do have a power of arrest but as always it is going to be a last resort," she said. 

She added that there were a number of operations in place over the weekend. In Buncrana, gardaí called to a number of premises to ensure that regulations were being adhered to. Registers were checked and spoke to staff who were encouraged to ensure that rules were being kept in line with national regulations.  

Sergeant Anderson said that gardaí will treat every incident on its own merit: "We are trying to get people to buy into the fact that we are all in this together.... the premises have obligations under legislation now - we will be there in the event that they call us, absolutely - we will visit and we will do their job." 

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