More than 200,000 support call for return of shop face mask rules
MORE than 200,000 signatures have been added to petitions started by an Eastville man calling for face masks to be compulsory in shops.
Martyn Cordey hopes that, despite making face coverings optional in all indoor spaces after July 19, the government will re-think its decision in relation to supermarkets and other shops.
He is calling on everyone who agrees with him to sign up, to add to the political pressure as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bristol rises to record levels.
His petition had attracted more than 190,000 signatures on the change.org website and more than 12,000 on the UK Government and Parliament Petitions website as the Voice went to press.
The petition calls on the government "to keep the legal requirement to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets...until there is a substantial decline in COVID-19 transmission cases, and more of the population have been double-jabbed".
Writing on the petition websites, Martyn said: "I believe that the longer the virus is allowed to circulate, the greater the risk of more variants developing. With this risk could be an even greater risk of a variant appearing which could render the current vaccines useless."
He said wearing coverings in enclosed spaces would help to suppress the recent increase in cases – a view shared by the British Medical Association, which has called for mask requirements to continue.
Martyn has multiple health conditions and, although he was not among those officially told to shield during the first lockdown, he relied on friends and neighbours to go to the shops for him.
He has now been double-jabbed but says the risk of catching and spreading the virus remains, and mask requirements are important for the confidence of people with health conditions in going out safely.
Martyn said: "Going to the shop to get provisions is a need, and they should be a safe haven.
"My main concern is taking that safety net away is going to mean a lot more people avoid going to the shops.
"We can't have everyone having online deliveries, particularly as at the moment there is a shortage of delivery drivers."
He said the petition had a narrow focus and he did not have an issue with coverings not being required at non-essential venues such as nightclubs, "as long as they all wear masks inside shops and supermarkets".
Although the level of support for the petitions had been "amazing", Martyn said he had yet to receive a response from the government, which is obliged to respond to all petitions receiving more than 10,000 signatures.