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Dublin and Cork airports advise face coverings, but no temperature checks for now

Social distancing, increased sanitisation and 720 plexiglass screens are just some of the new measures at Ireland's two busiest airports

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A deserted Dublin Airport during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Mark Condren

A deserted Dublin Airport during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Mark Condren

Spaced out: An almost deserted Dublin Airport yesterday afternoon. Photo: Collins

Spaced out: An almost deserted Dublin Airport yesterday afternoon. Photo: Collins

Colin Keegan

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A deserted Dublin Airport during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Mark Condren

Passengers using Dublin and Cork airports have been strongly advised to wear face masks, and only people travelling should enter terminals.

That's according to new guidelines issued by daa, the company operating the airports, aiming to protect health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both Dublin and Cork have implemented enhanced cleaning measures, daa says, with a particular focus on "key contact surfaces" such as security trays, self-service kiosks, escalator handrails and trolleys.

960 hand sanitisers have been introduced, with 720 protective plexiglass screens erected at areas like check-in, security, shops, restaurants and bars.

Socially distanced seating is in place, with "10,500 pieces of COVID-19 related signage" indicating everything from queue spacing to occupancy limits for bathrooms and lifts.

Temperature checks or Covid-19 tests are not mentioned: "This is a decision for the national health authorities rather than the airport," a spokesperson told the Irish Independent.

The new guidelines will apply from Tuesday, June 16, and are based on Ireland's public health advice and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recommendations.

Cork, Dublin and Shannon airports have all remained open during the pandemic, to allow for passenger repatriation and maintain cargo flights.

Passenger numbers have been at a trickle compared to normal, however - declining by 99pc at the peak of the coronavirus crisis.

While a full recovery could take years, airlines are planning to slowly ramp up schedules - with Ryanair, for example, aiming to operate 40pc of its summer schedule from July, and Emirates set to resume a twice-weekly service between Dublin and Dubai (the route was previously twice-daily).

However, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against "non-essential travel" overseas until further notice, and a 14-day self-isolation period awaits anyone arriving into the country.

It is unclear when this advice may change.

For those who do travel in the coming months, face coverings are "strongly recommended" at all times inside the airport or its shuttle buses, daa says.

They are not mandatory, however - and children under 13 or passengers with a valid medical reason for not wearing coverings are exempt.

"Passengers should bring their own face mask from home, but if they forget to do so, masks will be available for purchase at the airport," daa says.

“The safety of our passengers, our employees and all the other staff is always daa’s main priority and we will never compromise on that,” its Chief Executive, Dalton Philips, said.

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