New rules on Covid-19 face masks, coverings and visors

Definition of face coverings - updated

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


New rules on Covid-19 face masks and coverings and visors

Dr Laura Hennessy wears a mask at Portlaosie hospital

The definition of a Covid-19 face covering has been updated and comes into force on Friday, 18 December 2020

A face-covering now means: ‘a covering of any type which, when worn by a person, covers - without leaving a visible gap -  the person’s nose and mouth’.

This means that face shields or visors are no longer regarded as face coverings for the purposes of the regulations, though a person with a reasonable excuse for not wearing a face-covering may still choose to wear a face shield or visor.

Heath authorities say this reflects public health guidance and follows an evidence review recently undertaken by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) examining the effectiveness of face shields or visors compared with cloth face coverings to reduce the spread of the virus.

Not wearing a face-covering without a reasonable excuse in retail outlets comes with a fixed penalty provision (FPN) of €80.