Charities back government over mandatory face mask rules
The leading respiratory health charities in the UK have backed the Welsh Government’s stance on the mandatory wearing of facemasks.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed face coverings will remain mandatory on public transport, shops and most indoor public places in Wales when a further round of Covid restrictions are eased on Saturday but face coverings will no longer need to be worn in hospitality settings.
In England the legal requirement to wear masks in shops and on public transport was scrapped last month, despite research revealing the majority of people wanted the rules to remain in place.
Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma UK, and the British Lung Foundation Wales, described the wearing of masks as a “vital safety net” and said, “People following the guidelines around face coverings makes all the difference in the fight to contain the spread of the coronavirus.”
“Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation Wales welcomed the announcement that Facemasks would remain a legal requirement at Alert Level Zero. This distinct approach, taken in Wales, is keeping vulnerable people safe. However, any gradual easing of this requirement must be done with the most vulnerable in mind.
“In Wales, 1 in 5 people are affected by a lung condition. This includes 314,000 people with asthma and 76,000 with COPD. Due to the nature of their conditions, many of these people cannot wear masks. This makes it even more important that those who can wear a mask do so,” Mr Carter added.
“In England, following the loosening of restrictions, many have decided to keep themselves and others safe by continuing to wear a mask. However, there are others who have seen the removal of that requirement as an invitation to forgo masks in spaces such as shops and public transport.
“We have come so far, but there is still some way to go until we no longer have to worry about the impacts of the virus. For those with respiratory conditions that wait will be somewhat longer, but it can be made easier by the Welsh Government maintaining the requirement to wear a mask in their next update, and the people reading this working together to keep people safe. “
Among the changes that could be introduced at the weekend are the lifting of legal limits on the number of people who can meet indoors, including in private homes, while other premises, including nightclubs, could finally get the green light to reopen.