To enforce the regulations on the wearing of face coverings on public transport, a ‘relevant person' (public transport operator such as a bus driver or train driver) must first ask an individual to wear a face covering. If the individual refuses, then the relevant person can ask them to leave the public transport or not to get on the public transport. The relevant person can then call the Gardaí for assistance if required.
The owner or manager of the premises has a responsibility to encourage people to wear a face covering, and they should take all reasonable steps to engage with the individual before Gardaí are called for assistance.
Enforcement is a last resort
Garda members will continue to use the 4 Es: Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce. Enforcement should only be used when necessary and proportionate.
Garda actions if a person is non-compliant
Public transport: The offence here is failing to comply with the request of a relevant person. Gardaí will establish if the relevant person has given a direction to comply with the regulations. Garda attending at the incident will record the name of that relevant person and what exact requirement they made of the suspect offender.
The Garda member will use the 4 Es with the individual and clearly explain that at this point they are committing an offence, and give them an opportunity to come into compliance with the relevant persons request. (wear a face mask)
Gardaí will then give the individual a direction under Section 31A(7) to come into compliance with the request of the relevant person. If they continue to fail to comply, Gardaí may consider that the offence has been committed and can demand the individual's name and address under Section 31A(9).
Certain premises: The offence here is failing to wear a face covering in certain premises. A responsible person (e.g. shop owner/ manager) must take all reasonable steps to bring the individual into compliance. The responsible person cannot make a lawful requirement like the bus driver can. This person can only advise. Therefore, if Gardaí are called to assist, and will identify the responsible person and establish what action they have taken to bring the person into compliance.
Once this is established, Garda members can engage with the individual. An opportunity to come into compliance should be given. If this fails, Gardaí can give a direction to the individual under Section 31A(7) to come into compliance. If they continue to fail to comply, Gardaí may consider that the offence has been committed and demand the individual's name and address under Section 31A(9).
A Garda member can arrest without warrant an individual who doesn’t give their name and address, or who gives a false or misleading name and address.
If the individual does not comply with the Garda directions on the wearing of face coverings on public transport or in certain premises, then a Fixed Payment Notice will issue.
The issuing of these Fixed Payment Notices will be at the discretion of the individual member. The individual Garda member is not required to consult with the DPP or with their Divisional Officer before issuing a fine for the specific offences outlined below.
Note: Failure to comply with a Garda direction issued under Section 31A(7) is a separate offence, but not a Fixed Payment Notice Offence.
It is the investigating Garda member’s decision to decide if a separate investigation file is required for the DPP for that offence, but the issue of an FPN may be sufficient.
Offences and payment amount
(Updated 11 January 2021)
Members can now issue Fixed Payment Notices of €100 for the following offence related to movement of persons:
- Travelling without a reasonable excuse (Offence code HC1054).
Members can now issue Fixed Payment Notices of €80 for the following 7 offences related to the wearing of face coverings:
- Not wearing a face covering on public transport (Offence code HC1016A)
- Remain off public transport without a face covering (Offence code HC1016B). This refers to someone failing to comply with a direction from the relevant person (e.g. bus driver) to remain off public transport without a face covering.
- Alight from public transport (Offence code HC1016C). This refers to someone refusing to get off public transport when directed to do by a relevant person for not wearing a face covering.
- Not wearing a face covering in certain premises (Offence code HC1044). 'Certain premises' includes shops, shopping centres, libraries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bingo halls, museums, nail salons, hairdressers, tattoo and piercing studios, travel agents, laundries, dry cleaners, bookmakers, train stations and bus stations.
- Not wearing a face covering in small public service vehicles (Offence code HC1084). This refers to the obligation of the taxi driver to take all reasonable steps to ensure people wear a face covering in taxis.
- Not wearing a face covering by a worker in a relevant premises (Offence code HC1094). This refers to the obligation for workers in shops to wear face coverings.
- Not wearing a face covering by a responsible person in a relevant premises (Offence code HC1104). This refers to the obligation for the manager/owner/occupier to wear a face covering if they are involved in the preparation or service of food and/or beverages for consumption on the premises.