If we keep fighting over masks we’re no better than the politicians

Shoppers around Norwich Market staying safe in masks. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Shoppers around Norwich Market staying safe in masks. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

What’s more symbolic of a British summer than a strawberry?  

And what’s more symbolic of a post-pandemic summer – apparently with our freedom restored – than a tussle over said fruit?  

This was the scene I witnessed in a city centre supermarket just days ago.  

A shop assistant – wearing her mask – was restocking shelves when a man came to stand within spitting distance and proceeded to grab the reduced punnets out of her hands.  

She asked him to maintain social distancing to which he responded that there “aren’t any rules anymore”, so why did he need to stand back?  


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Neither of them are wrong.  

Of course, trying to prise 75p strawberries out of an unwitting employee’s hands isn’t exactly polite, but this individual has been told – by no less than the prime minister – that social distancing and masks are no longer needed.  

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But – as surely as night comes after day – Mr Johnson has watered down his headline-making statements to advise caution.  

Already we are hearing whispers of masks being brought back – particularly in supermarkets.  

This is partly down to the ‘pingdemic’ wreaking havoc in the supply chain and hospitality sector. Droves of staff isolating resulting in closed sites and empty shelves. 

After the talk of “irreversible” unlocking a U-turn seems inevitable.

What’s clear is that the blame for whether or not freedom is truly restored is going to be put on the public – for better but most likely for worse. 

I’m still wearing my mask but I’m not judging those who don’t.

Likewise I don’t expect to be told by strangers that my choice is unnecessary.

Policy has been left to the public, so let’s learn from the politicians’ mistakes and cut out the in-fighting.

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