The Irish prime minister asked people to stick to “common sense” and wear masks on crowded streets and at work in the weeks leading up to the Christmas celebrations.

Staring from December 1, people will be urged to wear masks “outdoors on busy streets, within crowded indoor workplaces and in places of worship,” Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin announced.

When asked to explain what was meant by ‘busy streets’, the PM urged everyone to use “common sense” in avoiding crowds.

“You name all the busy streets in the run up to Christmas – they’re going to be busy,” Martin said, adding that the streets would turn into an “equivalent of the shopping mall” during the holiday season.

The new recommendations are more thorough than the guidelines issued in July, which dealt with mask-wearing indoors. Observing the guidelines would continue to be voluntary, which is different from the rules on covering one’s nose and mouth on public transport and in shops where violations are punishable by fines.

“We don’t envisage going down that route, that’s not what we’re at here,” Martin said, noting that people have responded “magnificently” in terms of wearing masks on public transport and in shops. 

The update came two days after Ireland’s top World Health Organization official Michael Ryan encouraged everyone to make “small choices” like wearing a mask to protect vulnerable people at family get-togethers.

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