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Covid-19 Pandemic

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 7 July 2020

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Questions (96, 103, 112, 124)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

96. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if taxi and hackney drivers and their passengers will be required to wear masks as part as the latest plan to make masks compulsory on public transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13951/20]

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Darren O'Rourke

Question:

103. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if it is mandatory to wear a face covering in a taxi; the requirements and supports in place for drivers and passengers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14043/20]

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Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

112. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if guidelines will be provided for taxi operators regarding which they are to adhere to in view of the fact they have not received any; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14186/20]

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Peter Burke

Question:

124. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if face masks and face coverings will be mandatory in taxis and private operator vehicles such as limousines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14312/20]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96, 103, 112 and 124 together.

Following the commencement of Phase 3 of the Government's Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business on 29 June 2020, the public health advice recommends that individuals to wear a face covering in retail settings, on public transport, and in situations where it is not possible to achieve the recommended social distancing of 2 metres. Deputies will be familiar with the extensive public information campaign currently underway to advise the public about the use of face coverings for the benefit of themselves and those around them.

Given the size of most taxis and other small public service vehicles (SPSVs), public health advice indicates that people travelling in such vehicles should wear face coverings. Guidance on the safe use of face coverings is available on the gov.ie website. Under existing regulatory provisions for the SPSV sector, drivers already have the right to refuse carriage to a passenger who does not comply with a "reasonable request" which, in the present circumstances, would include a request to wear a face covering.

Deputies will be aware that it has recently been decided to make the wearing of face coverings on public transport a legal requirement. Work on this is very advanced and we expect to have new Health Regulations in the coming days to cover mass transit situations. My Department is also working with the National Transport Authority (NTA) in relation to an appropriate approach for the SPSV sector.

In the meantime, compliance by passengers with the public health advice in relation to face coverings is being carefully monitored and, given the current situation and the public health advice, I would strongly encourage all drivers and passengers to wear a face covering while in an SPSV.

In addition to face covering, vehicle cleaning is also important, and guidance on this has been available to the SPSV industry and on the NTA website for the last number of months.

Question No. 97 answered with Question No. 81.
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