FOLLOWING GUIDELINES: Police officers on patrol at Independence Square, Port of Spain yesterday. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

People are not wearing face masks while out in public. This, after Government has mandated the wearing of masks as a way to control the spread of Covid-19.

On Monday the Government embarked on phase one of easing the lockdown with the opening of food outlets for curbside pickup only. Since then, there have been numerous videos and pictures circulating online, showing people standing less than the stipulated six feet from each other, while not wearing masks.

Previously the Government joined forces with health professionals and the World Health Organisation and have told the public that people do not need to use protective face masks unless they are sick or caring for someone with Covid-19. On April 8 the World Health Organisation said there was no evidence to suggest wearing a face mask outside prevented healthy people from picking up Covid-19. Not long after, there have been a change in mandate as the Government and health officials recommended that people should wear nonsurgical cloth face coverings when they go out in public during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Psychologist Dr Varma Deyalsingh said it doesn’t help that on the subject of face masks, there have been mixed messages. “The ambivalence of mixed messages makes it far easier for people to do whatever they want and make up their own minds. Especially If they see people in authority not wearing masks. People have felt that when authorities at first said masks are not needed and had change in instructions after saying to wear. For some the requirement is unconstitutional, and under their theory, one cannot be forced to wear a mask,” Deyalsingh said.

Deyalsingh also outlined physical discomfort, political loyalty, ignorance of real danger, vanity, depressed individuals who doesn’t care if they live or die, and religious beliefs as reasons why many feel justified to forgo wearing face masks to avoid the spread of Covid-19. Yesterday the Express observed people out and about at shops, waiting for public transportation, and lining up for food without their masks on. There were also those who wore their masks around their necks or below their nostes, only covering their mouths.

Marcus Samuels, who sells nuts for a living said he refuses to accept the “lies”. “Mam, I not wearing any face mask because this whole coronavirus thing is a set up in the first place. They develop this virus to keep people under a form of control. This is not natural; it is a big lie. One minute they say wear masks and the next they saying you don’t have to wear a mask. They not even sure if masks will protect you. I not going to be controlled like that,” Samuels said.

Marie Jacobs, 56, said she forgot to put her mask on before leaving home. “This is something I have to get accustomed to. Most times I forget to grab a mask before leaving the house,” She said. Selwyn Richards, 42, a welder, said he doesn’t see the point. I don’t be outside for long. I just run in the shop to pick up a few things, so I didn’t see the need for wearing a mask,” Richards said.

Susanne Rampersad, 45, who owns a day care facility, said she doesn’t like wearing the mask. “I don’t like wearing the masks mainly because I feel claustrophobic. It’s not for me because I feel really pressured with the mask. I really do try, but end up taking it off after about 15 minutes,”


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