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19th Nov 2021

HSE chief calls for public to wear masks in congregated outdoor settings

Stephen Porzio

Masks outdoor Ireland Covid HSE

“Just because it’s not mandatory at a certain setting, doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it.”

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry has called on the public to wear masks in congregated outdoor settings, such as sporting events.

Henry made the comments on Today with Claire Byrne, where he was quizzed on what people should be doing to help combat the latest Covid-19 wave.

“At a general level, we’re asking people to reduce their total number of contacts, not to eliminate them altogether,” he explained.

“Just because the current rules allow us to go to nightclubs, to pubs, to restaurants, to bars, to mix – it doesn’t mean all of us have to do it all the time, every night of the week.

“We’re asking people to look forward a week from now, look at the total number of contacts you have and see if you can reduce them by up to half.”

Henry was then asked if he was comfortable with major events, such as the rugby match in the Aviva Stadium between Argentina and Ireland on Sunday, going ahead.

“What we’re asking people to do is resource those basic measures at an individual level… reduce the total number of contacts, wear the masks,” he replied.

“Just because it’s not mandatory at a certain setting, doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it.

“So, we’d ask anyone attending congregated outdoor settings as well to wear the masks to reduce the possibility of the virus transmitting from you, unwittingly from yourself if you’re asymptomatic, to somebody else.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Ronan Glynn has said that if Ireland continues on with the same high level of infection in the community it is seeing now, modelling suggests that the country will record upwards of 200,000 cases in December alone.

In a Twitter video, Glynn added that this is “not inevitable” and that people can avoid such a caseload by following basic public health advice.

He also called on everyone aged 50 years and over or with underlying conditions to receive their booster vaccine once invited.

“Do not delay, do not prioritise other events or appointments,” he urged.

The Deputy CMO added that the next few weeks will be “difficult for everybody” but that by sticking with the basic health measures, Ireland can “avoid the worst impacts of this current wave”.

On Thursday, HSE chief Paul Reid reported that some vaccination centres in Ireland offering booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are seeing “no-show rates” for appointments of 50%.

Main image via Leah Farrell / Photocall Ireland /