No surprises

Just over a week ago, I mentioned that the Belgian government had decided to strongly recommend wearing face masks in shops, but not make them mandatory.

There was quite a lot of pushback against this decision and, unsurprisingly, the wearing of face masks in shops and some other indoor spaces will be compulsory from Saturday.

And pressure has been growing as news spread of a widespread opinion among scientists that the coronavirus Covid-19 can be spread by aerosol transmission. If that is the case, and the World Health Organisation is also coming around to the idea, then a 1.5m social distance would not be enough to stop the spread of the disease. But the widespread wearing of face masks would help a great deal.

The obligation to wear a mask which covers the mouth and nose applies in most indoor spaces where people gather. That includes shops and indoor shopping centres; cinemas, theatres and concert halls; conference spaces and auditoriums; museums and libraries; and places of worship.

The wearing of a mask in other situations is “strongly advised,” said the office of the prime minister in a statement.

So that’s good.

8 thoughts on “No surprises

  1. LOL well as long as people wear them properly…….you would be surprised by the amount of people protecting their chins/chins & mouth/Nose……..there are those who do wear properly but the vast majority not so much so……. 🙂

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    1. I wouldn’t be surprised at all. Speaking from experience, it does take a few attempts to get them to both feel comfortable and to cover everything that needs covering.

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      1. Problem will be those people who will feel that is unnecessary. On Thursday I was doing carts in lobby when a customer stopped to speak with me. We were 6′ apart when as he is talking I notice that he is spraying as he talks. You could see the spray aerosoling out. After he left I went and got his cart and sprayed the whole thing down with disinfectant. Now my tale is not about the disinfecting but suddenly seeing the spray in the sunlight and stepping back. It was not just in front of his face either. So I am all for masks everyone needs to be on the same page.

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        1. The people who convince themselves they don’t need a mask are a large part of why I think making it mandatory is such a good idea. Whatever any one thinks, the same rule applies to everyone.

          On a related note, I have seen that one of the supermarket chains here is saying that it’s not their job to enforce the rule. They will ask a customer once to wear a mask and, if the customer refuses, they will just call the police. Again, having a rule like this means that shops and supermarkets aren’t in the position of having to enforce common sense.

          Everyone does need to be on the same page, and a rule such as this makes it very clear to everyone just what that page is.


    1. To me, one of the big advantages of making it compulsory is that we then have a clear message on the subject. And you can’t get much clearer than “just wear the thing, always.”

      I don’t think they are mandatory in restaurants but they are in cinemas. I’ve seen some discussion as to how this will affect popcorn sales.

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    1. That’s similar to the situation here. They weren’t mandatory when we were in full lockdown and stops were obliged to ensure everyone stayed 1.5 metres apart, but now that things have largely re-opened there has been increasing pressure to make masks mandatory.

      It makes sense for them to be mandatory by default, though. People should be wearing them when indoors and this rule ensures that they do.


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