The Financial Services Union (FSU) has welcomes a move by the Government to add banks, credit unions and post offices to the list of workplaces where face masks must be worn to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Department of Health had previously been of the view that the wearing of face masks was not mandatory in such premises as they are “controlled environments where social distancing” should be attainable. In addition, it had argued that there are also security requirements in terms of ensuring the identity of individuals entering a financial institution.

However, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly changed the regulations governing the wearing of face coverings on Tuesday, adding banks, post offices and credit unions to the list of workplaces where the wearing of face coverings is compulsory.

“The FSU launched a campaign several weeks ago seeking this change, so I very much welcome it. Our members were very concerned that they were being treated differently to any other retail staff,” said John O’Connell, general secretary of the FSU.

“Concerns increased when the new variant of Covid-19 was identified and the virus became more transmissible.”