Ditching masks at a stroke is too much too soon

People need reassurance about safety

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement end​ing rules requiring face coverings in enclosed public spaces, UNISON assistant general secretary Jon Richards said today (Monday):

“This isn’t the time to throw caution to the wind, especially with infections on the rise. The economy is important, but so is public confidence.

“These hasty changes will create a confusing cocktail of guidance. The public will be expected to know how to react to each and every situation they face.

“Pressure is already building on ambulance and other NHS services, and that’s before safety measures are ditched. It’s just too much too soon.

“Removing most precautions at a stroke won’t do anything to help reassure the thousands of nervous ​commuters who’re due to return to their workplaces in a fortnight using crowded public transport.

“If progress isn’t to be thrown away completely, there has to be a real effort to improve ventilation, maintain intense cleaning and continue to provide sanitiser wherever it’s needed.”

Notes to editors:
– Current advice from the World Health Organisation says: “Masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission and save lives; the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection against COVID-19.”
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in the NHS, local government, education, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

Media contacts:  
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk