Frome July 19 face masks become optional in England after being a legal requirement in public spaces, including shops, hospitals, services, theaters, taxis and other modes of transport for many months.
Although face masks as mentioned in the government guidelines have largely been intended to protect others, not the wearer, from the spread of infection with Covid-19, people from Monday will be able to decide for themselves whether or not to wear masks, unless otherwise required by a company or body such as Transport to London, where they remain mandatory.
Eight Guardian readers tell us why they will or will not plan to wear a mask on Monday.
‘I will continue to wear a mask in all public spaces’
“I will continue to wear a mask in all public spaces where I am in contact with others, unless it is completely impractical, such as when eating in a restaurant. I sing in a choir and if we sing indoors I will wear a special singer mask. We are now in a massive third wave. Despite the partially completed vaccination program, hospitalizations are already creeping up, we have the long-term effects of long Covid and a risk of emerging new variants that could create chaos. It seems to be a no-brainer that we must continue with simple risk-reducing measures until the situation is properly under control, as is the case in other countries. ” Michael, 52, associate professor from Durslaw
‘You have to be careful’
“I think it is irresponsible to impose burdens on individuals and companies on the use of face clothing, while the Delta variant is still increasing – not only in the UK, but throughout Europe. The government cannot just move away from its ‘dictation’ approach when it comes to keeping the public safe and making public health decisions. I feel very anxious and want to wear a mask in shops and other crowded places. You have to be careful. ” Paola Adeitan, 27, of Wiltshire
”We do not know how long antibodies can last ‘
“I think it’s ridiculous to make such things optional. Yes, hospitalizations are down and there is some sense of hope due to the vaccination program, but we do not know how long antibodies can last and without more data we may be in a harsh winter with further restrictions. Gathering this data, providing antibody testing, booster vaccination, and tackling the idiotic anti-vaccination argument would certainly be more pragmatic. I wear a mask beyond July 19th in the public space. ” Tom, 35, health worker from Derby
‘I go to a gym and wear a mask when I go in and out’
“I feel that the use of masks should still be mandatory. Removing all restrictions in one move is extremely cavalier. I will continue to wear a mask in confined spaces, especially in light of the rise in Covid-19 infections and the pressure on hospitals. I go to a gym and want to wear a mask when I go in and out, but if too many people come in, I’m not sure I can continue, as training without a mask is not ideal. I keep my toe in the water and see how it goes, in my opinion we open up way too fast. ” Jane Beer, a retired teacher from Leeds
‘Masks should always have been optional’
“In my opinion, masks should always have been optional. The government initially said they were ineffective and researchers had a debate saying masks are a waste of time unless they are hospital class. Then the narrative changed. I personally think most masks that people wear on protection are useless, but if they give people peace of mind, that’s fine. If I had symptoms, I would isolate myself and do a test, but I do not need a nanny to tell me what to do. I would say to someone who is scared – if your mask works, you need to trust the one you are wearing. I also do not hate seeing real human faces. ” Paul Gray, 63, retired, b Faringdon, Oxfordshire
”The rules do not necessarily apply to every situation ‘
“I’m not wearing one next week. I do not think it should have been mandatory in the first place, because being obligatory suggests that people are likely to be irresponsible, so that’s why I think it should always have been optional, because the rules do not necessarily suit everyone. situation, firstly. Secondly, it must be a personal choice, because if someone wants to take extra care and wear a mask because they feel more secure, then it’s fine that they should not be judged, but just like if someone does not want to, and they feel safe enough so they should not be judged either. ” Zayn Jaffer, 28, hiring employee, Harrow
‘I fear catching the virus’
“On the one hand, I have hated wearing a mask, and it has been a factor limiting my social activity. I have severely deficient vision without my glasses and have failed to crack the problem of glasses that evaporate when I wear a mask. On the other hand, I am asthmatic and have difficulty breathing, so I dread getting the virus myself. I am also concerned about passing on the virus to my son, who is classified as clinically extremely vulnerable, or to the friend I currently support who uses chemo. The changes proposed from Monday will, in my opinion, at least in the short term, make me feel very nervous about going out and about, with or without a mask, due to the increased risks, especially when cases continues to rise. The messages from the government must emphasize our responsibility to others along with the narrative of personal freedom. ” Madeline Cowley, retired, West Midlands
‘There is no disadvantage to wearing a mask’
“By its nature, an epidemic is a public issue that requires public coordination and a coherent public response. Pushing responsibility on individuals makes about as much sense as asking individuals to set their own speed limit when driving, or asking individuals to maintain the roads they drive on. There is no downside to wearing a mask and I would wear one in any indoor public space, no doubt. ” Chris, 32, who works in tax technology and lives in London