From July 24th it will be mandatory for customers to wear a face mask in shops in England, and in fact it is already compulsory to wear one in Scotland. Now the chief medical officer in Northern Ireland, Dr Michael McBride, has come out in support of this rule.
Protect Vulnerable People Who Have Been Shielding
He believes that once the shielding period for vulnerable people ends on July 31st it is important to protect them from the virus in any way we can and give them the confidence to go out into the shops, so the mandatory wearing of face masks will be a positive step towards this process.
Will It Be A Further Blow To The High Street
However there are critics of the mandatory wearing of masks, with some MP`s and retail shops claiming the introduction of this will be a further blow to the high street. They fear that this rule will drive many consumers away from the retail shops and into the arms of the online giants such as Amazon, which would be a further blow to the local high streets who are already struggling to get up and running after lockdown. They also say that the compulsory wearing of face masks should have been introduced months ago if it was going to be introduced at all when the pandemic was at its peak.
Reduce The Risk Of Further Waves
Dr Michael McBride is quoted on the BBC News NI website as saying:
—- “That means us doing the right thing and using a face covering in enclosed spaces, and also reducing the risk of further waves in autumn and winter,” he said.
“It is the right thing to do and proper and respectful thing to do – we need to change the behaviour now, we need to get public used to them, the time is now.
“I would like to see us take all steps necessary to ensure by 31 July, many more of us are wearing face coverings we have a duty to ensure that’s the case,”
“I was not convinced from the outset but there is greater evidence now – not protecting me as the wearer of the face covering, or you as the wearer of the face covering, but actually the benefit of protecting other people.
“Right from the outset our approach has always been to protect others, to protect others who are more vulnerable than us and to protect our health service and we need to continue to do that,”
We fully support all measures that will safeguard the people of Northern Ireland from this virus, but we hope that any measures are introduced carefully so that they do not damage businesses here and the Northern Ireland economy as a whole.