Speaking from underneath a black mask on the streets of Galway, Carina Abrikian told RTÉ she fully supported the Government’s plan to make face coverings mandatory in retail outlets and shopping centres.

“It is very important for us to wear masks to prevent any contagion,” she declared.

Carina was just one of several people in Galway city centre who backed the latest move to contain the spread of coronavirus. 

Local businesses reported that there had been a steady increase in the number of people masking up.

But Paul O’Brien – who runs a newsagents on William Street – pointed out there was a recurring problem, literally right under their noses.

He told RTÉ: “More and more people are wearing masks as the weeks go on but I also notice that a lot of people are not wearing their masks correctly – they are not covering their noses!”

Paul O’Brien said more shoppers were masking up, but some were not covering their noses

Some shoppers were new to the concept of face coverings, yet appeared enthusiastic about adhering to the new guidelines.

Local man Aengus O’Flaherty said he had not worn one previously when he popped in and out of the shops.

“I think people will wear them if it’s compulsory – I have one now in my pocket and I will be wearing it.”

People spoke of the need to limit the transmission of Covid-19, especially in light of the increased reproduction rate in recent weeks that has led to Phase 4 being postponed until 10 August.

“Anything that can control the virus has to be good so it is good that they have been made compulsory,” said Brendan McCarthy, a visitor to Galway from Kerry.

Local woman Alice McMahon was in full agreement that wearing face coverings was the right idea.

“It makes perfect sense to wear one if you are going to the shops. This will help protect other people. I think everybody should comply with it.”

Fellow shopper Tina Hosty summed the mood up. “The virus is still here so we need to wear them.”

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