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'It's all about protecting each other' - shoppers embrace masks

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Bernadette and Eddie Sheehan were masked up

Bernadette and Eddie Sheehan were masked up

Bernadette and Eddie Sheehan were masked up

Fogged-up glasses, an itchy face and a chronically sweaty nose - conscientious shoppers overwhelmingly accepted the minor annoyances of wearing a face mask for the greater good.

As masks became mandatory in shops and shopping centres, adults and youngsters alike rallied to help protect each other from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

At Merchants Quay Shopping Centre in Cork, those who wore masks said they were willing to put up with the annoyances, both for their own protection and for the public good.

Ger Sheehan, from Carrigaline, was out shopping with his daughter, Libby (2), and said their use of face masks was now automatic.

"It can be a little awkward, but it's ok. We managed fine with them. It's all about protecting each other."

Challenge

John Laffan, from Ballyphehane, said the mandatory mask ruling for shops and shopping centres was not a major challenge for people already relying on public transport.

"I've had to use a mask for weeks just to get on the bus. To be honest, I find it very annoying - I don't like it. I use an inhaler, so there are times I find it difficult to breathe when I'm wearing the mask, but you have to wear it," he said.

A group of 17-year-old shoppers also dispelled the notion that mask compliance was only for the middle-aged and elderly.

They all proudly displayed their masks as they did a bit of shopping on St Patrick's Street.

"You don't shop as long as you might have just a few months ago," one said.

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Ger Sheehan, with daughter Libby, unmasked for photo

Ger Sheehan, with daughter Libby, unmasked for photo

Ger Sheehan, with daughter Libby, unmasked for photo

"There's also no socialising at all - people keep to themselves, do their own shopping and leave."

For Eddie and Bernadette Sheehan, from Fairhill, wearing a mask in shops is simply a visible sign of how the pandemic has changed everyday life in Ireland.