Majority of our readers support compulsory face coverings, poll finds

PUBLISHED: 17:36 22 July 2020

Alan Dean, Uttlesford District Councillor for Stansted North and Liberal Democrats Group Leader. Photo: Supplied by Alan Dean.

Alan Dean, Uttlesford District Councillor for Stansted North and Liberal Democrats Group Leader. Photo: Supplied by Alan Dean.

Supplied by Alan Dean

Residents of Saffron Walden and surrounding areas have shared their views across our Twitter and Facebook pages ahead of face coverings becoming mandatory in UK shops and supermarkets from Friday, July 24.

Elaine Coote, wife of Uttlesford District Councillor Arthur Coote. Photo: Supplied by Elaine Coote.Elaine Coote, wife of Uttlesford District Councillor Arthur Coote. Photo: Supplied by Elaine Coote.

The decision to make face coverings compulsory was announced by Conservative Health Secretary Matt Hancock - and sparked opinions from local residents and councillors.

The Saffron Walden Reporter has been running a poll on its Twitter page for the past week around the question: “Do you think the compulsory wearing of face masks in UK shops from July 24 is a good decision?”

At the time of writing, 110 votes have been cast and most of the respondents agree with the decision (83.6%).

District councillor Alan Dean, Liberal Democrats Group Leader in Uttlesford, said “compulsory face masks should already be required.”

Gina Graves thinks people should be required to wear face coverings, but expressed concern of the way people may dispose of them.Gina Graves thinks people should be required to wear face coverings, but expressed concern of the way people may dispose of them.

R4U district councillor Arthur Coote ‘s wife, Elaine Coote, also spoke in favour of masks after her battle with Covid-19: “If you have had Covid-19 like I have, you would do anything to stop getting it. It really is not just like the flu, it is something that can kill you and I had deep vein thrombosis because of it.”

But Matt Clout from Saffron Walden said wearing masks in shops means to him “not going to shops anymore”, because they make him uncomfortable and feels he cannot breathe properly. “It could be the final nail in the coffin for high street retail,” he said.

David Drane, from Hempstead, asked: “Where’s the freedom to choose?”

Paula Parish, from Chrishall, said face coverings protect other people, including front line workers with health conditions such as her son.

She said: “My son manages a village store and has put himself at risk from the very start of the pandemic to provide food to his local community. He is asthmatic, and so an infection would be bad news for him. A small minority have behaved really selfishly throughout. Give him and other shop workers a break, please!”

Gina Graves, from Stansted, also thinks people should be required to wear face coverings, but expressed concern about the way people may dispose of them, such as dropping them in car parks. Jo Quinn from Bishop’s Stortford thinks compulsory face coverings should have been introduced “ages ago”. Nonetheless, she thinks they are still a good idea, because the pandemic is not over and many have not had the virus yet.

Saffron Walden Reporter reader Isabelle Antunes Bridge said: “I’m a strong advocate for mask wearing, but I feel really sad when I see all the harsh judgements online. I know people who can’t wear them for medical reasons, and I myself am deaf and can’t communicate if someone is wearing a mask.”

Let us know your thoughts on our Twitter poll or on our Facebook page.


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