Dundee City Council’s leader has blasted “selfish” individuals for not wearing protective face masks, saying they are putting people’s lives at risk from coronavirus.
John Alexander said that everyone who can wear a mask should do so, after the Scottish Government made face coverings mandatory on all public transport in Scotland on June 22, and in shops on July 10.
A Tele poll last week showed around 90% of the public were willing to wear masks, with some people exempt for health reasons or because of their age.
Speaking to the Tele, Mr Alexander said: “The reality is, they’re there for a reason. This isn’t some pie in the sky thought process that has generated this outcome of wearing a face mask.
“Maybe the advice should have been earlier, and maybe that is why people question it, because why was it so late in the day I suppose – in some aspects – but it’s there for a reason.
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“It’s common decency, and it’s not difficult to put a mask over your face when you go into a shop for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever it may be, and take it off when you come back out.
“It’s not just about yourself. There are good reasons why some people can’t wear masks but there’s also good reason why those that can should.
“I’m not going to be selfish by saying, ‘I would rather not wear a mask because it’s itchy or it makes me sweat on my chin’ – or whatever it may be – because I know what I’m doing is potentially preventing the spread to somebody else.
“And how could I live with myself or sleep easy at night if I felt like I potentially could have contributed to somebody getting that virus, and potentially dying?”
Mr Alexander said he felt there may be some complacency among the public because they had not been personally affected by coronavirus.
“I think, sometimes, because the impact hasn’t been directly upon you, your family or friends group, then it’s almost seen as a bit of an abstract,” he said.
“People have died from Covid-19. Dozens of people in this city, in your neighbourhood, have died as a result of this virus.
“So, I would think it a selfish position to say, ‘Well I don’t care whether I’ve got the virus or not, I’m not going to be wearing a mask because I don’t like it.’
“That isn’t sensible, it isn’t helpful, and it certainly isn’t the way we should be treating our fellow citizens.
“I’m wearing a mask, not to protect myself, but to protect everybody else, and if everybody does that, then we’re going to see the elimination of this virus sooner rather than later.
“If people don’t adhere to that guidance, then the virus might well make a resurgence, the lockdown might well come back, and then that will be the same individuals complaining, who have complained about the fact that they’ve been told that they have to wear a mask.”
Mr Alexander added that the Sunny Dundee face masks, launched in a similar vein to the Sunny Dundee sunglasses in 2018, were being distributed throughout the city.