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Author Topic: Should we be encouraging mask use where possible even for the legally exempt?  (Read 2464 times)
grahame
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« on: October 28, 2020, 09:02:26 am »

From the West Somerset Railway's Santa Special page ..

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It will be a requirement for all passengers to wear a mask on the service, we encourage children to also wear a mask where possible to ensure maximum safety for all.

Applause for the bolded part.

I would love to see a similar encouragement for children, and those otherwise who are in an exempt category but never the less could safely wear a mask, to do so.  Noting the number of young people around this half term week, legally not wearing masks though I suspect they could.  Covid doesn't take note of the law ...
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2020, 10:01:13 am »

For those with exemptions for mental health type issues it should be up to their carer. As GWR and other TOCs make clear some people who are exempt are for not visibly obvious reasons.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2020, 10:50:23 am »

For those with exemptions for mental health type issues it should be up to their carer. As GWR and other TOCs make clear some people who are exempt are for not visibly obvious reasons.

That is a different issue from my my comment, though. 

I am suggesting it is good practise to wear a mask if you safely can, even if you fall into one of the exemption categories.    Take a healthy child with an 11th birthday next Tuesday.  On Monday, that child can legally not wear a mask on the bus / train ... but I would suggest that although legally exempt, he/she could do so, and in doing so perhaps play his/her part in helping prevent the spread.  Come Wednesday, there is a requirement to wear the mask anyway and nothing magic happens on a birthday (well, not on mine anyway!).
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2020, 12:08:47 pm »

I agree with the general idea that we should be encouraging mask use where possible regardless of legal exemptions. But I would say there might be reasons not to even where a person can safely do so. For instance, you might be accompanying a deaf person who relies on lip reading.

In the specific case of children, it's going to vary from child to child. Some will have no problem wearing a mask at well under 11, some will find it traumatic even when older.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2020, 01:57:44 pm »

This sort of discussion concerns me for all manner of reasons. I shall try to be brief and probably fail!

Firstly a general point of principle. If people are ignoring laws or rules, the answer is to enforce the rules you have, not to tighten them still further. There is no logic behind the statement ?people aren?t doing the right thing so we?ll widen the net to catch more people and then they?ll all do the right thing.? That is what a tightening of the rules would result in; those who ignore the rules would carry on doing so and their numbers would probably increase because the rules had been tightened

Secondly I too am concerned about people who don?t play along, either through bloody-mindedness or a failure to think things through. I had an example this very morning on the X34 bus from Chippenham to Semington. There were two people on the single decker as we pulled up at the Rowden Arms stop, me in my usual seat on the nearside at the start of the raised section at the back, and a guy in the rear seat. Two pensioners go on, looking older than me in their 70s, and plonked themselves down in the seat immediately in front of me. They were dutifully wearing masks but they had clearly forgotten all about social distancing.

But going back to the main point, having spent the last 60 years slowly smoking my lungs to death I have the beginnings of COPD. I still wear a mask but, if I am wearing one when walking around a supermarket I often become short of breath. The mask does make it more difficult. I can therefore quite easily see how difficult it would be with a more serious COPD case.

But I don?t look like there?s anything wrong with me. I am also blind in one eye through glaucoma and have about half sight in the other but that doesn?t show either to a passer by. It was BNM on this forum who once said somebody said to him ?You don?t look disabled? to which he replied ?You don?t look like a doctor? In a nutshell, people who are not disabled should not automatically think that everybody else is as fit and healthy as they are because they don?t look unfit or unhealthy. 

The discussion on children wearing masks could be seen as yet another example of people not thinking things through. Working on the basis that you would probably be hard pressed to keep a mask on any toddler that didn?t want it on (they often find plenty of things to have tantrums about anyway without adding masks to the list, and I wouldn?t like to be the jobsworth that told a flustered parent to get their brats mask back on), there is bound to be an age cut-off point, be that 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or whatever. And these milestone also happen to be birthdays that have a day before and after as well. So where is the new line you want drawing because you don?t like the old one?
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bradshaw
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2020, 02:39:18 pm »

With regard to children wearing masks, rather than use age why not impose them when they enter secondary school? That has a defined start date. Where first, middle and upper school systems are in place choose one of the progression points.
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Ralph Ayres
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2020, 03:00:20 pm »

I do wonder how many people who are exempt from wearing a mask feel safe to use public transport anyway.  Breathing difficulties are likely to put someone straight into the high risk category if they catch the virus while travelling, and it seems odd that someone who doesn't wear a mask for mental health reasons is nevertheless able to cope with the responsibility of possibly passing on the virus to a fellow passenger by not wearing one, and is not worried by the risk of catching it from another passenger.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2020, 03:46:30 pm »

Somehow I knew I might get some interesting anwers ...
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I shall try to be brief and probably fail!
... even if not short.  Cheesy

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Firstly a general point of principle. If people are ignoring laws or rules,
Which is NOT where I started.  I'm looking at common sense and thoughtfulness, even if the law's net does not include the young people.

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But I don't look like there's anything wrong with me.
I think that's a rhetorical question, Robin ... but my originl post is specific in its use of the term "healthy".  Not looking to address the arguments / discussions on hidden disabilities.

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The discussion on children wearing masks could be seen as yet another example of people not thinking things through.
Now there I'm inclined to agree ... for sure, the tiny "brats" can't be masked (or it would not be PC to suggest they should, but I do with parents, grandparents, guardians would think through with social responsibility in mind.  Which does NOT mean that I'm about to suggest anything in person to adults with "control" of a gang of unmasked 9 or 10 year olds running around and not distancing from anyone on a half term trip ...
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2020, 04:53:40 pm »

With regard to children wearing masks, rather than use age why not impose them when they enter secondary school? That has a defined start date. Where first, middle and upper school systems are in place choose one of the progression points.
That would work fine when they're in school. When they're anywhere else, it leads to all sorts of vagueness. What if you're in middle school and visit an area which has primary and secondary? Or an area which has both systems? Or you're at a private school which doesn't follow the general primary-secondary distinction? Or home schooled? Age is arbitrary but can at least be determined.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2020, 09:57:13 pm »

Somehow I knew I might get some interesting anwers ...

Happy to oblige  Grin

I?ve now decided I can?t do brief or short; I was no good at pr?cis in school either...

Common sense and adherence to rules are not necessarily bedfellows. Rules might not reflect common sense; government rules often don?t, and this can and does lead to people looking for loopholes, especially thoughtless people.

Take for example the recent incident where The Rules said that dining out with other families was not allowed, but Different Rules said that business meetings were allowed. So then we had people asking if business working lunches were allowed, and getting different answers depending on which restaurateurs were asked.  Now, if these people had employed a bit of common sense and remembered what The Rules were there for in the first place, they may have sussed out for themselves that the whole point was to minimise contact between different family groups to restrict the spread of the virus. Half a dozen people sitting in a meeting room with their cheese sandwiches and talking about sales targets are less likely to infect others in the wider community, or get infected by others from the wider community, if they stay there and do it rather than down the Dog & Duck for an hour.

To me there is a basic truth in that example. If one starts an examination of  a New Rule by thinking about what it has been introduced for in the first place, and acts accordingly, one doesn?t need definitions, one shouldn?t be looking for loopholes and one (well me at least) usually takes more anti-COVID precautions than I?m being told to.

The other problem with over-interpretations of rules is that it encourages people who enjoy minding other peoples? business to feel the need to get involved, anything from a direct challenge to a disapproving snort. If you have rules that say everybody has to wear a mask except the medically exempt, and then compound that by saying even those who are medically exempt should where one if they can, you run the risk of further blurring an already blurred line. 

How can you tell the difference? How do you know whether that that bloke over there who isn?t wearing a mask but who doesn?t look ill, is breaking The Rules or not? You don?t know now and you would know even less then. The propensity of the man in the street to add two and two and get five is boundless.

As regards children wearing masks, there is of course the old saying about there being three ways to get something done. Do it yourself; pay someone else to do it, or forbid your children from doing it. Whatever New Rule for children you will have some children complying and others not, no matter at what stage in their lives you say it has to start.

There are many things in this world that appear, on first sight, to be worthy of a new rule or regulation. Often, when the practicalities and pragmatism are added into the mix they can turn out to be more trouble than they are worth. I am not sure that the proposals made on this thread don?t fall into this category.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2020, 09:57:53 am »

To me there is a basic truth in that example. If one starts an examination of  a New Rule by thinking about what it has been introduced for in the first place, and acts accordingly, one doesn?t need definitions, one shouldn?t be looking for loopholes and one (well me at least) usually takes more anti-COVID precautions than I?m being told to.
It's not always clear what the rules are for, since they try to balance conflicting priorities; in this case, keeping the economy 'open' and reducing people mixing. So we wear masks walking into a cafe or restaurant but then spend most of the time chatting away without them. Add to this that the rules are made in parliament but applied by businesses, schools, bus drivers and so on, all with their own priorities, and it's no wonder there are inconsistencies in application.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2020, 12:37:42 pm »

To me there is a basic truth in that example. If one starts an examination of  a New Rule by thinking about what it has been introduced for in the first place, and acts accordingly, one doesn?t need definitions, one shouldn?t be looking for loopholes and one (well me at least) usually takes more anti-COVID precautions than I?m being told to.
It's not always clear what the rules are for, since they try to balance conflicting priorities; in this case, keeping the economy 'open' and reducing people mixing. So we wear masks walking into a cafe or restaurant but then spend most of the time chatting away without them. Add to this that the rules are made in parliament but applied by businesses, schools, bus drivers and so on, all with their own priorities, and it's no wonder there are inconsistencies in application.

When talking in general terms you may be correct; I susoect we have all driven or walked down a road with a 40mph speed limit and wondered what logic lies behind it and why it shouldn?t be a 30 or 50 limit depending on circumstances. As an aside, it always grinds my gears when somebody says ?the rules are there for a reason? as though that was enough. My response is always ?yes but it might not be a very good reason so tell me what it is? But I digress... again...

However, in the case of this pandemic it should be quite obvious to everyone why the rules are there. They are there to limit the spread of the virus. So if you have a situation where rule A and rule B appear to be in conflict, the correct thing to do is to look at the reason for the rule and act according to the spirit of the rule, not its letter.

I can think of plenty of examples where looking for loopholes can be beneficial, for example when it results in paying less tax. I see no logic at all in trying to find loopholes in anti-COVID rules that are there to stop people dying prematurely, especially if I could easily be one of them.

Arguing over definitions and trying to find loopholes in this case results in some people being preoccupied with the rules themselves and not what they are there for. I am reminded of a definition of a zealot that I heard many years ago; someone who redoubles their effort after they?ve forgotten their cause...
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smokey
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2020, 12:59:35 pm »

I can't understand why the Government hasn't simply made it Law,
"That when you leave home You must at all times wear a mask or full face visor whilst in public areas", allowing masks to be removed when sat at tables in restaurants, pubs. cafes etc.

For those who are unable to wear masks or a face visor due to medical conditions then these are people who shouldn't be leaving home at all.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2020, 01:46:38 pm »

Out of interest, do people think you should have to wear a mask when riding a bicycle?
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grahame
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2020, 04:00:06 pm »

For those who are unable to wear masks or a face visor due to medical conditions then these are people who shouldn't be leaving home at all.

I'm going to comment (unhelpfully) that it's not as straightforward as that ... but that comment leads me elsewhere ...

I have been very impressed by the number of people who very clearly have disabilities - often ones that have an extreme visible effect - who are wearing masks.   I have an admiration (not happy with that word, but can find none better) for people who are carrying on with much and obviously stacked against them, and an additional admiration of them for following masking when, I suspect, many of them are legally exempt.   Standing watching / helping passengers for a few hours at a station entrance a couple of times a week, these people have come onto my radar in a way they haven't in the past - and I suspect that's because they're a rail customer group that hasn't collapsed in numbers in the same way as many other groups.
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