‘Keep face masks in shops’ say Plaid as Welsh Government to unveil future restrictions
Plaid Cymru have called for the wearing face masks to remain mandatory in retail outlets, as the Wesh Government get ready to unveil what Covid restrictions will be eased in Wales.
While the UK Government have announced that face masks will only be “encouraged” in England from Monday, the First Minister has confirmed that in Wales they will still be mandatory on public transport and taxis, as well as in health and social care settings.
Mark Drakeford is due to make a statement on Wednesday setting out further details on the new alert level zero for Wales, including wtherer masks will be mandatory in other settings.
Speaking in the Senedd, Plaid Cymru’s health spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said that it made no sense for the Welsh Government to pick and choose some close contact settings for mask wearing and not others, as the virus itself made no such distinction.
It meant that a shop worker would have to wear a mask to a surgery but the doctor would not have to wear a mask when visiting the shop.
“I welcome the confirmation that people will still be required to wear face coverings on public transport and in healthcare settings, but being in a busy shop is also a risk, including to staff,” he said.
“Welsh Government needs to share their reasoning behind this decision, otherwise we’ll have the situation where a shop worker will have to wear a face-covering to go to their doctor, but their doctor will not have to wear a mask to visit their shop.”
The Welsh Government said on Sunday that “active further consideration” is being given to whether masks will still be required by law in other settings, like retail.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We will need everyone’s help to keep coronavirus under control as we continue to respond to the pandemic – this virus has quite certainly not gone away.
“We know many people are still worried and anxious about going out. We will maintain the requirement to wear face coverings in certain places – on public transport and health and social care settings, and others where necessary – to help keep us all safe.”
Speaking in plenary today, the First Minister added that the danger of long-Covid was one reason why they were being more cautious than England in lifting restrictions.
“It’s one of our reasons for hesitation in the current circumstances because while the link between falling ill and hospitalisation has undoubtedly been amended by vaccination, large numbers of people falling ill in the community is not to be dismissed as though that wasn’t a matter of continuing concern,” he said.
“Because the more people who fall ill in the community, the greater the risk there will be that some of those people too will then suffer not just a temporary or minor illness, but an illness that will live with them for weeks and months beyond.”