The Irish Examiner was told by motorists that the cash-only method of paying for the toll had unnerved them, with change being given by operators wearing no gloves. Just one booth was in operation for a toll that sees thousands of cars pass through every day.
According to statistics from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), there were 9.22 million vehicles passing through Limerick Tunnel in 2019.
Of those trips, 3.88 million were done using electronic tagging. Other ways to pay include coin booths where no change is given, or a coin exchange managed by a toll operator.
There is currently no way to pay by contactless payment.
One motorist told this newspaper that when he passed through, the toll attendant was not wearing any PPE, including a mask or gloves, and that when he told Limerick Tunnel operators Direct Route Limerick Ltd, he was informed that attendants had been issued PPE.
Despite this, the motorist faced the same situation some days later.
Direct Route Limerick Ltd chief executive Declan Cahill said he was disappointed to hear of motorists being unnerved passing through the toll at Limerick Tunnel.
"I have initiated an internal investigation to establish events over the weekend that will enable further review of existing controls and additional measures that may be considered to protect the safety and welfare of both staff and road users," Mr Cahill said.
Prior to Covid-19, DirectRoute Limerick was already in discussions with various payment providers to update its method of payments, Mr Cahill added.
"Due to Covid, we expedited such negotiations and I am pleased that we are about to close a significant multi-year commercial deal with a merchant provider to provide contactless cards as an additional method of payment at Limerick Tunnel.
"As you can appreciate, such negotiations take time, board approvals sought and our reporting systems required development to cater for such changes. I expect this new method of payment to be introduced in the coming month," Mr Cahill said.
Safety and welfare of workers and customers is paramount to Direct Route Limerick Ltd in such challenging times, Mr Cahill said.
There has been no diagnosis among staff of Covid-19 throughout the pandemic, he added.
Appropriate PPE, including face masks, face shields, gloves and hand sanitiser have been issued to staff, Direct Route Limerick Ltd said.