Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed the Northern Ireland Executive’s decision to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory in shops.
Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed the NI Executive decision on face coverings.
The initial emphasis will be on education and encouragement.
Minister Swann stated: “I am pleased that the Executive has supported my recommendation. This is in line with the expert advice provided to Ministers by the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser.
“We need to promote every available measure to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our community.
“The evidence in support of face coverings in shops and other enclosed spaces has become increasingly compelling.
“It should become second nature to us in the weeks and months ahead. I am confident people will want to do the right thing.
“This is particularly important in light of the fact that shielding is due to be paused from July 31. As people who have been shielding start resuming everyday activities, the wearing of face coverings in shops is a practical way to reassure them and help them keep safe.
"I am also very mindful of the need to protect retail staff.”
The lead-in period before August 20 will allow time for public education and engagement to promote the benefits of face coverings.
A public information campaign will be undertaken and guidance issued to the retail sector. This will detail the exemptions to the measure.
Employees and children under 13 will not be asked to wear the face coverings. Nor will those who cannot wear them on health grounds.
The public information campaign will also reinforce current messaging on social distancing, and hand, and respiratory hygiene.
“Everyone needs to be aware that wearing face coverings is first and foremost about protecting others.” the Minister added.
“It does not reduce the need to keep our distance and regularly wash our hands. It must not lead to a false sense of security.”
Notes to editors:
- For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Follow us on twitter @healthdpt
- The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
- Publication of Quarterly Carers’ Statistics for Northern Ireland (April - June 2021) 24 September 2021
- Don’t miss out on final walk-in jab clinics 24 September 2021
- Coronavirus (Covid-19) Infection Survey Northern Ireland – 12 September to 18 September 2021 24 September 2021
- Workforce Appeal will help tackle hospital pressures – Swann 23 September 2021