Calls for face masks to remain compulsory on Sheffield buses
A councillor has asked whether a Sheffield law can be introduced so face masks continue to be compulsory on buses in the city.
Coun Ben Curran asked a council meeting whether a local restriction could be made by the Sheffield Bus Partnership.
He said: “The Government has announced the intention to relax restrictions from July 19 yet many experts feel that wearing masks should remain compulsory on public transport and other enclosed spaces, including our very own Director of Public Health who said he will continue to wear a mask.
“Will Sheffield Council explore measures that could be taken locally to require passengers on local trams and buses to wear masks?
“Through working with Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis and bus companies, could a local requirement be part of the conditions of carriage?”
Coun Douglas Johnson, Executive member for transport, said there was no doubt masks help to stop Covid spreading but there was no easy way to enforce masks.
“The wearing of face masks has been a very contentious and sometimes divisive issue, it’s very easy for people to get carried away with strong opinions.
“The Government has decided that restrictions should be lifted and it will not be against the law to fail to wear a face mask now.
“There have been demands to make bus drivers police people’s activity but we have to be very mindful of those on the front line as sometimes they’ve experienced real hostility.
“Similarly, disabled people have experienced quite a wide range of attacks and hostility for being seen to fail to wear a face mask for all sorts of reasons.
“I want to urge everyone to show some tolerance. I certainly encourage the public to wear face masks, and to be respectful of each other, and be aware that this virus certainly hasn’t gone away.”
Sheffield’s bus and tram operators previously said they could not offer a firm policy on whether they will ask customers to wear masks and observe social distancing.
The Government said it would “recommend” passengers continue wearing face masks on public transport but it won’t be compulsory.