Sheffield transport interchange users ignoring official mask rules

Sheffield transport interchange users are ignoring official face mask rules.

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 6:00 am

It may still be compulsory – but users of Sheffield Interchange have ditched masks despite the rules.

Mayor Dan Jarvis announced in July, when restrictions were ditched across the country, that masks would remain compulsory in transport interchanges, despite legal requirements to wear them in enclosed public spaces and public transport ending on July 19.

But a visit to the Sheffield Interchange, Pond Street, revealed just a handful of people wearing face masks inside its indoor waiting areas, despite notices.

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Signs make it clear that masks still must be worn in Sheffield Interchange, but many are ignoring them and ditching masks

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Mr Jarvis said in July: “We wear masks to protect each other from the virus, and the mixed messages from this government risks making public transport a no-go area for the vulnerable and young people who haven’t yet had both vaccinations.”

He said the government had the power to make masks a legal requirement for transport networks and enclosed spaces and urged them to do so.

But he added if Government would not act, he would do what he could with the powers available to protect the community.

The Star walked through the interchange and counted the people wearing masks and those without – a snapshot of mask use.

We discovered while 12 people wore masks, more than double that number, 25 people, did not.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Metropolitan Combined Authority, said: “Face masks remain mandatory in bus stations and transport interchanges across South Yorkshire until further notice. We’re strongly encouraging people to follow Government guidance that expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas, such as public transport, if they can to help protect themselves and others. Interchanges are monitored and facemasks offered to customers that don’t have one, unless exempt.”

Pedestrians on Pond Street backed masks.

Masoud Khoassi, from Sheffield, said: “I think it is important, especially now we’re going into winter. I always wear mine.”

Ethan Quinn, from Mosborough said: “It’s still a good idea to wear them. I think it is the only way we can get rid of Covid. I think it is something that should still be enforced.”

Emma Johnson, from Manor, added: “I’m still wearing a mask when I go indoors. You have to use your judgement if you’re in a crowded place outside that’s busy. You have to be considerate to others.”

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper. Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor