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Face coverings now mandatory

Banks, credit unions and post offices have been added to the list of workplaces where the wearing of face coverings is mandatory.The Minister for Health has today changed the regulations governing the wearing of face coverings, adding post offices, credit unions and masks to the growing list of workplaces where the wearing of face coverings is compulsory.

The new regulations come into force with immediate effect.

The change was made after a campaign was launched by the Financial Services Union (FSU), representing staff in banks and credit unions, to have the regulations changed.

John O’Connell, General Secretary of the FSU, said the union’s members were very concerned that they were being treated differently to any other retail staff.

“Concerns increased when the new variant of Covid-19 was identified and the virus became more transmissible,” he said.

The new regulations come into force with immediate effect.

“This is a sensible move which can help alleviate some of anxieties expressed by staff.  We would urge all customers to abide by the new regulations and help keep themselves and workers safe,” Mr O’Connell stated.

He said the rationale not to include these three financial institutions to the initial regulations seems to have been security-based.

But he said that given a lot of financial institutions now have vastly improved their security measures, FSU members are not as concerned about security.

Their concerns around masks were heightened once the new variants of the virus began to emerge.

Brian Hayes, the chief executive of BPFI said, the union and its member banks very much welcome the decision by Government to amend the regulation to make mask wearing mandatory in banks.

“The safety of customers and staff has been a top priority since March and today’s announcement is extremely helpful as we continue to provide essential services nationwide,” Mr Hayes said.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Ged Nash welcomed today’s decision to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory in financial institutions.

“Belatedly, common sense has prevailed and this will come as a relief for customer-facing staff, customers themselves and the Financial Services Union who have campaigned for this simple but important workplace health and safety measure to be introduced in law,” Mr Nash said.

The Irish League of Credit Unions also welcomed the move.

Paul Bailey, ILCU Head of Communications said they want to encourage all members to adhere to the new regulations.

“Credit unions have remained open as an essential service and have ensured the continuity of services to their members.

“The introduction of this important workplace health and safety measure, offers extra protection to members and staff,” he said.

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