Masks to be mandatory in all marts from Monday

The wearing of face coverings will be mandatory in all marts from next Monday (August 24).

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine told AgriLand: “In consultation with the mart organisations, arrangements are being finalised in relation to the wearing of masks in marts.

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“The wearing of masks in marts will be mandatory from next Monday. In the meantime, the voluntary wearing of masks when attending marts is recommended. Full details will be communicated to all marts shortly,” the spokesperson added.

Many marts around the country are already requesting that farmers and other persons attending sales wear face coverings.

Eimear McGuinness, chairperson of Mart Managers of Ireland (MMI), spoke to AgriLand recently and said that many marts in the MMI group had taken the decision to request attendees to wear them.

However, McGuinness told AgriLand that she was “kind of expecting” notification to come eventually to make face coverings mandatory in marts.

Role of social distancing

McGuinness stressed that even with face coverings, maintaining the advised social distance was still a more important factor in preventing any possible spread of Covid-19 in marts.

At the end of last month, marts were advised that the required social distancing measures could be reduced from 2m to 1m – subject to a limit of 50 people in the ring areas. This figure, McGuinness said, is “ample” for the present time.