Covid-19. Coronavirus. 'Rona'. Are you sick of hearing about it yet? Although we all want to escape hearing about it day in and day out and especially in light of the recent anti-mask protests, it feels necessary to begin an open conversation on face-coverings.
It's vital to discuss their importance in stopping community transmission, and protecting those who are most vulnerable in society. Although An Garda Síochána are investigating further into the organisation and carrying out of the protests which fought against the use of masks, it is still necessary to take some individual steps to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
Leaving your house now to go down to your local shop doesn't just consist of remembering your keys and phone, but now your mask, your hand sanitiser, your visor (if you feel so inclined) and maybe even gloves if you're extra organised.
There's been a lot of misinformation spread across the globe regarding face-masks the past few months as we all try wrap our heads around the affects this global pandemic is having on us mentally, work-wise, education-wise and socially.
The 'new normal' is a phrase being shared about Ireland often at the moment, regarding social distancing, queuing for supermarkets (and it's not even Christmas) and of course, the wearing of face-masks in public spaces.
It has of course become our new reality with laws being enforced by An Garda Síochána on the public and much more regular inspections in the workplace by members of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).
According to Citizens Information, face-masks have become compulsory when in:
shops and shopping centres
cinemas / theatres / museums
nail/hair salons and tattoo / piercing parlours
travel agent and tour operators
laundries and dry cleaners
Face coverings are not mandatory in post offices, credit unions and banks for security purposes. In cafés and restaurants, you may be required to wear your face-mask until seated.
Medical and dental services may ask you wear a mask where possible in the waiting rooms, but you can remove the mask while in your appointment.