South Shields shoppers continue to wear masks on 'Freedom Day' as Covid cases continue to rise in South Tyneside
Many shoppers continued to wear masks on ‘Freedom Day’ in South Shields as they expressed fears that restrictions had been lifted “too soon.”
Monday, July 19 marked the end of most Covid restrictions in England – including the legal requirement to wear masks in shops and on public transport.
But many people visiting South Shields town centre remained cautious and continued to wear a mask despite the relaxation of rules.
David Critchlow, from South Shields, said he thought it was a “stupid” decision by the Government to lift restictions when coronavirus cases continued to rise.
The 59-year old said: “I think it [Covid] will come back with a vengeance.
"I will definitely keep wearing my mask, without a doubt.
"I think it is stupid to lift the restictions. I think it is too soon.
"Less people are dying but more people are getting it. It is really scary.”
Linda Davison, 60, also felt it was “too soon” to be lifting all of the restrictions and is concerned that cases will continue to rise.
Mrs Davison, who is originally from Jarrow, but was visiting from Leicestershire, said: “I will still wear a mask in shops and on public transport just as a precaution.
“I think you have got to have some restrictions, it is too soon to be doing it all at once.”
Carol Eales, 78, from Jarrow, said she would continue to take precautions in shops and public transport to stay safe as Covid cases remained high.
She said: “I will definitely keep wearing my mask, there is no way I am going into shops without it.”
Nationally, retail chains including all major supermarkets have said they will continue to encourage shoppers to wear masks, and many businesses in South Tyneside will be keeping their mask policies and social-distancing measures.
Masks are still mandatory on the Metro system, and transport chiefs deployed extra frontline teams ‘to engage with customers about the need to wear face coverings when making a journey.
Customer Services Director, Huw Lewis, said: “The Government has said that we are all expected and recommended to keep wearing face coverings in busy indoor settings, including shops and on public transport.
“Our frontline teams will be there to talk to customers and explain why wearing a face covering is the right thing to do.”