I will not wear a face mask anymore

From: Wayne Andrews, Chitcombe Road, Broad Oak

Face masks being worn in public
Face masks being worn in public

I am writing on Sunday 18 July, the day before the bizarrely-nicknamed ‘Freedom Day’ on which some of the lockdown restrictions are due to be lifted.

Readers will by now have had four days to discover how shops, cafes and restaurants have reacted to the changes. I hope they will have found that the vast majority have dispensed with all restrictions, and are doing their bit to help us get back to something closer to ‘normal’ again.

In particular, I hope few if any businesses have continued to request customers to wear masks. They cannot of course compel customers to wear them, though no doubt some will have tried. I shall have spent the last four days refusing to wear them, and my reasons are clear.

For almost eighteen months, we have worn our masks, washed our hands, kept a 2m distance from others, isolated when appropriate, protected (and clapped for) the NHS, stayed away from elderly relatives in care homes, missed family funerals, endured an economic slump which has cost many (mostly young) people their jobs and livelihoods, paid for grants, furloughs, subsidies and ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ via our taxes, worked from home, had our jabs, and much more besides.

I think we’ve done enough. We can continue to protect the vulnerable without government intervention or restrictions, and we now know enough about how the virus spreads to be able to avoid catching it ourselves.

True, there seems to be a new spike in Covid cases, but with more than 46 million people now having had at least one vaccine dose, it is noticeable that the death toll has barely increased at all.

Anyone who wants to continue to wear a mask is of course free to do so, but I hope that business owners will understand that they now have an opportunity to restore some goodwill, and to get customers through their doors again. Any retail premises that still insists on masks being worn will not be getting my custom, and I know many who feel the same way.

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