Sat, 26 Sep 2020

DUBLIN, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Wearing face coverings in retail settings such as shops and shopping centers has been made mandatory in Ireland starting from Monday.

Those who violate the rule will face a fine of up to 2,500 euros (about 2,935 U.S. dollars) or six months in jail, according to a decree announced by the Irish government earlier this month.

The rule does not apply to children aged below 13 or to workers who are separated from customers by a screen or can maintain a two-meter social distance from others.

Earlier last month, the Irish government had already made it mandatory for people to wear face coverings on public transport.

Monday is supposed to be the first day for Ireland to move into the fourth phase of reopening its economy and society. However, the day has been postponed by the government due to a recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The Irish Department of Health on Monday night reported another 57 new cases in the country in the day, bringing the total to 26,768.

Statistics from the department showed that over the last week, a total of 550 cases were reported in the country, a figure almost doubled when compared with the 286 cases reported in the previous week.

Most of these cases were related to clusters of infections in three counties in the central southern part of Ireland, namely Kildare, Offaly and Laois, said the department.

The government on Friday announced that starting from midnight of the day the three counties would be put under some sort of lockdown again for two weeks.

Ireland embarked on a four-phase road of reopening its economy and society in mid-May with each phase lasting for three weeks. The first three phases were carried out as scheduled, but the last phase, which was first planned to be implemented on July 20, has been twice delayed due to the resurgence of the virus in the country.

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