Sun | Jul 5, 2020

Persons still not wearing masks in public places

Published:Tuesday | June 2, 2020 | 12:24 AMJason Cross/ Gleaner Writer
Dr Christopher Tufton, minister of health and wellness, distributes a mask to a taxi operator in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, yesterday. He also issued educatioal materials and hand sanitisers to commuters and bus and taxi operators.
Dr Christopher Tufton, minister of health and wellness, distributes a mask to a taxi operator in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, yesterday. He also issued educatioal materials and hand sanitisers to commuters and bus and taxi operators.

WITH THE expiration of the work-from-home order yesterday, concerns have surfaced over persons not complying with the mandatory wearing of masks in public spaces to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Now that more citizens will eventually go back out to work, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton foresees a community spread if persons do not continue to maintain social distancing, wear masks, as well as frequently sanitising their hands.

Singling out a number of persons who were non-compliant with mask wearing, Tufton, during a walk through of Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, handed out 2,000 masks to citizens. He said from a public health perspective, he has to encourage persons to wear masks.

The minister also boarded Coaster buses and handed out masks to a number passengers.

“Today is the first day that the work-from-home order no longer exists, so more people will be coming to work and using the public transportation system. We encourage persons to recognise that free movement means greater risk of COVID-19, so mask wearing and sanitising is important,” the minister said.

Along the tour, Tufton quizzed a number of persons on why they were not wearing a mask and their excuses varied.

Christopher Manderson told The Gleaner that he just didn’t have access to a mask and thanked Tufton for the kind gesture.

“If a never fi di minister, a pure things probably woulda happen, so God bless him. I collected for me and my girlfriend, because I don’t want her to get COVID. I never did have none, so anything coulda reach me, you zeet.”

Tufton stopped a woman who wasn’t wearing a mask and handed one to her.

She told The Gleaner afterwards that she had one in her handbag. Another woman told The Gleaner a similar story, explaining that she would put it on as soon as she got to work.

Even though Mark Scott claimed he takes COVID-19 seriously, he wasn’t wearing a mask.

He said: “See di boss (Tufton) gimme one yah. Mi tek it serious, but mi also trust God. We have to try and go forward the right way, though.”

The Gleaner visited the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre and the observation was that some persons were not wearing masks at all or weren’t wearing it properly, and were non-compliant with social-distancing guidelines. The lack of adherence to social distancing, in some respect, inside the transport centre was facilitated by the seating arrangements, which forced persons to almost rub shoulders with each other.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com