Minister needs to add banks to the list of workplaces where the wearing of face masks by customers would be compulsory

Issued : 4 January 2021

Press Statement from John O’Connell, General Secretary of the Financial Services Union

Minister needs to add banks to the list of workplaces where the wearing of face masks by customers would be compulsory

Bank staff should have the same protection as other retail staff

The Minster for Health should immediately add banks to the list of workplaces where the wearing of face masks by customers would be compulsory according to John O’Connell, General Secretary of the Financial Services Union.

In a recent reply to a parliamentary question tabled by Ged Nash, Finance spokesperson for the Labour Party Minister Harris stated that that the wearing of face coverings is not mandatory in premises such as bank branches/credit unions/post offices for both public health and security reasons.

“The Minister’s position on face coverings in Banks is now untenable. We are in the middle of a third wave of the pandemic with the numbers of people with COVID-19 at levels not seen before. It is time for bank staff to have the same protection as staff working in other retail settings” stated Mr O’Connell.

In Northern Ireland, the Minister for Health added Banks to the list of workplaces a couple of months ago.

“Minister Donnelly should take a sensible and proactive approach and adopt an all-Ireland approach on wearing of face masks in public places and add banks to the list of places where the wearing of face masks is compulsory” concluded Mr O’Connell

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Health if banks will be added to the list of workplaces in which the wearing of face masks is mandatory (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) in line with Northern Ireland

REPLY

I would like to assure the Deputy that the public health advice relating to Covid-19, including that relating to face coverings, is kept under continuous review by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

As the Deputy is no doubt aware, a person, without reasonable excuse, must wear a face covering when using public transport, in retail outlets, shops and shopping centres, in other indoor spaces such as libraries, cinemas and cinema complexes, theatres, concert halls, bingo halls, museums, businesses carrying out cosmetic nail care or nail styling, hair care or hair styling, tattoo and piercing services, travel agents and tour operators, laundries and dry cleaners and licensed bookmakers.

The relevant Regulations, which remain in place until 9 November 2020, are -

  • Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (Face Coverings on Public Transport) Regulations 2020 (S.I. No. 405/2020),
  • Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (Face Coverings in certain premises and businesses) Regulations 2020 (S.I No. 404/2020),


The Deputy may wish to note that the wearing of face coverings are not mandatory in premises such as bank branches/credit unions/post offices for both public health and security reasons. By their nature, these locations are controlled environments where social distancing for members of the public should be attainable. There are also security requirements in terms of ensuring the identities of people entering a financial institution.

The current advice in relation to face coverings is available at -https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/face-masks-disposable-gloves.html and http://www.gov.ie/facecoverings/ 

ENDS

Contact: Brian McDowell, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, FSU. Tel: 087-9161225. Email: [email protected].

About FSU: The FSU is Ireland’s leading union across banking and finance. We represent thousands of staff across the main retail banks, and we have members in more than 70 companies across the finance and fintech sectors. Our members are spread across the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Great Britain. We are headquartered in Dublin and we also have a presence in Belfast. We are members of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and UNI Global finance union.