The Regulation signed by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly means that the requirement for public transport passengers to wear a face covering has full legal effect. As and from Monday 13th July authorised staff may refuse entry to a person who is not wearing a face covering. Authorised persons may also ask a passenger who refuses to wear a face covering to leave the vehicle.
NTA CEO Anne Graham said: “The clear and consistent message is that face coverings on public transport make journeys safer for passengers and for workers. This Regulation will increase people’s confidence in public transport and encourage more people back on to our buses, trams and trains.
These Regulations provide that members of the public who are 13 years old or older shall wear a face covering on public transport unless they have a reasonable excuse.
These are where:
(a) the person cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering – (i) because of any physical or mental illness, impairment, or disability, or (ii) without severe distress,
(b) the person needs to communicate with a person who has difficulties communicating (in relation to speech, language or otherwise)
(c) the person removes the face covering to provide emergency assistance or to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
(d) the person removes the face covering to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury
(e) the person removes the face covering in order to, and only for the time required to, take medication.
The onus will be on a passenger to establish to the satisfaction of the relevant person that he or she has reasonable excuse.