Welsh Government Ministers in talks with supermarkets over “their responsibility of enforcing face covering rules”
Politicians have raised concern over the seeming drop in the number of people in Wales wearing face coverings.
Under the current alert level zero, which has been in place since the start of August, it is mandatory to wear a face mask in all indoor public places – excluding hospitality – public transport and healthcare settings.
This was a move welcomed by unions which at the time said face mask wearing is an “important measure to help protect workers who have no option but to interact with the public as a part of their job.”
However there is concern that the number of people wearing face coverings in shops and other indoor settings has dropped in recent months.
At a press conference last week First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed that Wales’ economy minister has met with retailers to urge them to do everything they can to raise awareness of the legal requirement to wear a face coverings in shops.
He also warned that unless cases in Wales decrease in the next three weeks, the cabinet will look at further tightening covid measures.
Speaking in the Senedd yesterday Conservative MS Russell George questioned whether enough people were following the restrictions, stating that a recent survey had found face mask wearing in Wales had dropped.
Mr Russell said: “I think, whether you agree with the restrictions or not, you should follow the restrictions.
“There was a CoMix survey last week that showed that mask wearing in Wales has decreased sharply over the last month compared with England and Scotland.
“So, how are restrictions such as mask wearing and working from home going to be enforced if data is suggesting that people are ignoring the restrictions?
“I’d be interested in your conversations in Cabinet around this. Clearly, when you’re considering further restrictions, there’s got to be a discussion about the Welsh public’s appetite for the willingness to follow restrictions. So, I’d be grateful if you could give some further detail in that regard as well.”
His concerns were echoed by Plaid Cymru MS Rhun ap Iorwerth, who added: “In the last few days I’ve had people working in pharmacies, in shops, restaurants, people who are concerned about what they see in their daily lives on public transport.
“We need to do something different now in order to reinforce that message and to ensure that the legislation is being implemented, because it is clear that the legislation, in and of itself, isn’t enough.
“So, I would be grateful to understand from the Minister what kind of innovative thinking is being done around that communication.”
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said it was about communicating about mask wearing and that “we have to bring the public with us and we need to ensure that the public understands that this is a responsibility on them as well; it is legislation”.
She said: “I am very saddened to see that people are not taking this seriously. This is certainly not a common situation throughout Wales.
“The majority, I think, are still abiding by our laws. And let’s underline that—it is actually a law to wear a face covering in certain public places in Wales, and we did, of course, have many robust discussions within Cabinet about this, in particular about how we enforce it.
“And I’m pleased to say that Ministers Lesley Griffiths and Vaughan Gething have been meeting with supermarkets to talk to them about their responsibility of enforcing face coverings.
“It is a legal requirement and we expect them to enforce that.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com