Letters: Why are supermarkets only now waking up to the vital importance of wearing face coverings?

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IN recent days announcements have been made by numerous supermarkets that they intend to prevent customers from entering their stores if they refuse to wear a mask (except for medical reasons and other exemptions). My question regarding the lack of such enforcement of mask wearing by customers is: why, under the terms of the Health and Safety at Work Act, have employers not been obliged, using the risk assessment process, to enforce the wearing of face masks by all staff and customers for the protection of their own employees since the problems associated with Covid-19 first became apparent?

Whilst not an excuse for any employer in terms of the measures to be introduced for the safety of their employees, as far as I can ascertain current HSE guidance (last reviewed December 31, 2020) makes no mention of the need for face masks in its Covid-19 guidance, which is in itself strange since Scottish Government policy is that people frequenting shops (presumably including employees in supermarkets), must, with some exceptions, wear a mask.

Perhaps one of your readers with greater knowledge of the Health and Safety at Work Act could help to explain why when the majority of the Scottish public have worn masks for months, for their own safety and that of supermarket staff and other customers, that supermarkets are only now insisting that those who failed to wear masks before must do so now.

John S Milligan, Kilmarnock.

GIVE POLICE VACCINE PRIORITY

WHO decides which occupations are a priority for getting the vaccine? I fail to understand why our police forces throughout the UK are not high up on the list. You only have to watch the reports on television of them grappling with protestors and such like who are not wearing masks and spouting forth all their germs.

Elaine Honeyman, Largs.

CHURCH WAS SAFER THAN HOLYROOD

IAN Cooper (Letters, January 14) writes about his considerable anguish about the appeal made by representatives of many churches against restrictions on public worship. I went to church on Monday of last week where we were fewer than the 20 people permitted to gather at that time, all sat wearing face masks at least five metres apart (we have a large cathedral building in Motherwell). Later that afternoon I watched as further restrictions including prohibition of public worship were announced in the chamber at Holyrood, where I counted well in excess of 20 parliamentarians, none of whom was wearing a mask, many of whom were sitting closer together than we had been in church earlier that day.

On reflection, I felt safer in church that morning than I would have done had I been sat in Holyrood that same afternoon.

Alan Mitchell, Motherwell.

KIRK HAS BEEN GOING THE EXTRA MILE

I NOTE the letters from Ian Cooper and Cathy Baird (January 14) urging the 500 church leaders questioning the cessation of worship to think again and become “part of the people”. I agree with their comments, but in case all are tarred with same brush, in fact the leadership of the Church of Scotland has actually gone the extra mile in fully supporting the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 restrictions. Although worship in the Church of Scotland is not subject to civil legislation due to the provisions of the Church of Scotland Act 1921, we have accepted Government restrictions on worship, because we recognise that these restrictions are necessary to protect church members and the wider community.

As registered charities, congregations have suffered significant financial loss, with some unlikely to survive, but as “part of the people” we share the consequences of the pandemic with many other charities and businesses throughout Scotland and the wider world.

Rev David A Collins, Dundee DD5.

A PREJUDICIAL ARGUMENT

STUART Waiton’s recent article (“Despite what politicians say, Scots kids are not racist monsters”, The , January 13) can be described as flawed in several aspects, but one in particular stuck out for me.

Mr Waiton says in relation to the 2,200 cases of racist behaviour recorded in Scottish schools that “there was nothing to tell us about what these ‘racist incidents’ were”. But that doesn’t stop him, without a hint of irony, stating in the same article that many of these incidents consisted of “I suspect, more often than not, [not]an ounce of racial prejudice”. How convenient that his baseless speculations fit so neatly with his argument.

Mick Reilly, Edinburgh EH4.

SO WHO FITS THE PART?

RUSSELL T Davies ludicrously suggests that only gay actors should play gay parts (“TV’S bizarre ‘only-gays’ rule could backfire”, The , January 14). Presumably when he was casting the part of Doctor Who, Christopher Eccleston was the only actor who fitted the job description of “Time Lord actor from Gallifrey required, previous time-travel experience essential”.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.

WHEN FOOTBALLERS TOED THE LINE

LAWRENCE Shankland’s spectacular goal for Dundee United this week (“Shankland savours his special strike”, Sport, January 14) took my mind back almost 70 years to a goal I scored from a by-kick playing in a school match. Like Shankland’s goal, the ball was dipping under the bar and the goalie attempted a save but fumbled it over the line and the goal stood.

Despite the heavy leather balls in those days we did have an advantage over the modern player in that our boots had a solid toecap which allowed the “toe-ender”. This technique was not particularly accurate but a favourite of defenders in that you could “gie the ba’ a rare hurl”.

David Waters, Blackwood.

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