Thursday, 30 July 2020

Questions (222, 231, 289)

Chris Andrews

Question:

222. Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if it is mandatory for taxi drivers and their passengers to wear face coverings in line with other public transportation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19741/20]

View answer

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

231. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide clarification to taxi drivers on whether their vehicles are included in the announcement for the mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport. [19804/20]

View answer

Paul McAuliffe

Question:

289. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the mandatory wearing of face masks will be extended to passengers in taxis. [20958/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 222, 231 and 289 together.

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. 

As the Deputy is aware, the wearing of face coverings on all mass transit forms of public transport has recently been made mandatory and my Department is now working with the Department of Health, in consultation with the National Transport Authority (NTA), about extending the mandatory approach to include the SPSV sector.  The Deputy will also be aware that the Government recently decided to make mandatory provision for wearing face coverings in retail settings too.

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.