27 Sept 2022

NPHET advice on removal of mandatory COVID-19 restrictions from February 28

 EXPLAINER: Who must wear FFP2 Covid-19 masks and how to wear?

Covid-19 FF2 masks

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD has published the advice he received from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

It was recommended that the following measures could be removed with effect from 28th February:

- Mandatory mask-wearing in areas where it is currently regulated for, including public transport, taxis, retail, and other indoor public settings, and staff in hospitality settings.
- Public health measures in early learning settings, school-aged childcare, primary and secondary schools, including physical distancing measures such as pods, and mask-wearing.

Minister Donnelly said: “The current epidemiological profile of COVID-19 continues to provide a broadly stable and positive outlook. The advice from NPHET to remove mandatory mask-wearing is a key indicator that we are moving forward in terms of our ability to live with COVID-19. Our ability to ease restrictions is thanks to the response and support of people across the country and our successful vaccine programme.

“I welcome these recommendations and I would like to take this opportunity to thank members of the NPHET for their expertise, commitment and guidance through what has been such a difficult period. Their contribution cannot be overstated.”

Whilst mask wearing will no longer be mandatory in certain settings, NPHET recommended that masks should still be worn in healthcare settings, and on public transport where physical distancing can be difficult and where those who are more vulnerable to the severe impacts of COVID-19 do not always have discretion to avoid. It also recommended that other public health protection layers, including hygiene measures, ventilation and staying at home if symptomatic, are continued.

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