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Monday, May 23, 2022

Facemasks – Bradfordians split on keeping or ditching them

People in Bradford are split on whether they want to keep wearing facemasks or ditch them for good.

People in Bradford are split on whether they want to keep wearing facemasks or ditch them for good.

In late November it was announced that it is now the law to wear facemasks in public spaces and large groups settings.

In England, secondary school pupils – but not teachers – are required to wear masks in classrooms. However, staff and visitors are advised to cover up in communal areas of any school.

Kids over the age of eleven have to wear face masks in school. Image: Atoms.

England’s current rules also require everyone aged 11 and over to wear face coverings in places such as shops, hairdressers, and taxis, but (unlike in the devolved administrations) not pubs, cafes and restaurants, or gyms and leisure centres.

Facemasks are also required in places of worship, however, there are some exemptions. Face coverings are not required in a café within a place of worship, but they are mandatory in the rest of the premises.

People who are not exempt from wearing a mask could face an initial fine of £200.

With every further offence, the fine is doubled, and people could eventually end up with a maximum of £6,400.

Plenty of people are exempt and there are also certain scenarios, like medical emergencies, where masks are not required.

People who do not have to wear a mask must have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This applies to the following:

  • Those with physical or mental impairments that mean they are either physically unable to put on a mask
  • Non-medical emergencies where someone is moving away from danger into a zone where there are mask regulations in place
  • If you are asked to remove it for identification purposes
  • Medical exemptions, so if you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, emphysema or lung cancer

People do not have to wear a facemask at concerts or events but are required to show their Covid-19 passport or proof of a negative lateral flow test from the past 48 hours or less.

Face masks are not mandatory for hospitality workers.

These rules are to be reviewed on 26 January, meaning that an end to masks could come soon depending on Covid-19 figures across England.

Asian Standard has reached out to residents from across Bradford District to see whether they want to keep facemasks or ditch them altogether.

One woman, Natasha Rebecca Mann, from Bradford, is keeping her mask on because she has developed anxiety over catching the virus. She said: “I’m keeping mine, but it is more to do with my anxiety.

“It’s a bit of a bizarre one. Wearing one triggers my anxiety whilst out, but I’m absolutely terrified of Covid too, so I feel safer with it on.

Face masks are mandatory on public transport. Image: Gabriella Clare Marino.

“Whilst pregnant last year I had severe fear drilled into me which also caused agoraphobia. It’s become a safety net and overusing hand gel has become a crutch.”

Vaz Shabir added: “No one wears them as no one wants to enforce it. People are covid weary. No one cares.”

Sabina Ahmed from Keighley said: “I still wear mine. I’ve had people laugh at me, people from my own community, about my mask and their comment, was ‘you will probably be the first to get it’ but it hasn’t stopped me from wearing it.”

Smaera Kounser, who works in security and is also from Keighley, added: “I don’t bother unless I’m at work and I have to due to the client’s request, but nobody is listening as the Government is a joke.”

Liz Rogers, a member of the Bradford 4 Better group said she is keeping her mask on as it is “polite to others to show concern for their wellbeing.”

Asif Iqbal, who runs Halal or Haram, from Keighley is also keeping his mask on as “safety comes first.”

Will you be keeping or ditching your mask? Let us know in the comments.

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