If not at home, wear your mask!

The recent change to facemasks having to be worn in all public spaces, indoors and out, has left many confused. Unfortunately, it is still common to see people walking on the streets in the local communities without a mask. However, it is compulsory, so be warned because any ‘period of grace’ is well and truly over and spot fines of around €100 are now being issued.
The best way to think of the new rule is that if you’re not in your house or garden, wear your mask. If you are walking on the street you have to wear a mask – there is no exception for those walking dogs or wearing trainers. If you are walking your dog you have to wear a mask. If you are walking for exercise (even in training clothes) it is still walking on a public street and you should wear a mask. If you are running, jogging or cycling you are exempt, but we’ll cover the exemptions shortly. Even if you leave your house, to cross the road and but the rubbish in the bin, you should wear your mask.
Keep them near to the door so you can grab a clean one on the way out. It will soon become second nature to put it on alongside you shoes as you go out. It’s also a good idea to keep a pack in the car, a spare in your pocket and ladies can pop a few in their handbags.
You mask needs to stay in place, covering your nose and mouth at all times in public, ‘shared space’ places. This includes your place of work, the street, shops, bars, restaurants and markets. You can be fined for having your mask on your elbow, on your chin, in your hand or in a pocket or handbag – it has to be worn on your face at all times. Social distancing is not an exemption – if you are talking to someone or even passing them by and you are 1.5m apart; you still have to wear a mask. I recently saw a man queuing outside a bank, he was at least 2m from the lady in front and the person behind was also socially distanced, so he slipped his mask off to talk on the phone. He could have been fined if spotted by the police; neither talking on the phone or having a cigarette are exemptions to the rule in the eyes of the law.
The ONLY exemptions are: At home, in your garden with people you live with. In the car on your own or with people you live with. At the beach, whilst sunbathing or swimming, but if you are walking along the beach your mask has to be worn. At the swimming pool if you are seated or swimming. Again if you are walking around the pool, you need to replace your mask. If you are doing any form of exercise where you breathe heavy or get out of breath you do not have to wear a mask. If you are seated indoors or outdoors to eat or drink you can remove your mask. Make sure your seat is 1.5m away from the next table and sanitise your hands regularly. If you leave the table, even to go to the toilet you need to put your mask on. There are also medical exemptions that you can discuss with your doctor.
In short if out, wear your mask.