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SPTC satisfied with public cooperation on compulsory wearing of face masks | 10 July 2020

SPTC satisfied with public cooperation on compulsory wearing of face masks

Commuters wearing face masks boarding an SPTC bus (Photo: Louis Toussaint)

Since Wednesday July 8, wearing a face mask has become compulsory on all public transport and for the majority of commuters and the general public, they understand the importance of wearing a face mask to protect themselves as well as others in the event that an infected person is in their midst without them knowing.

Some commuters have sewn or bought some very colourful and creatively decorated masks.

Maxwell Julie, deputy chief executive of the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC), told Seychelles NATION yesterday – the second day since the measure came into force – that the corporation is generally satisfied with the level of public cooperation on wearing face masks on public transport.

“Members of the public are really cooperating except for a few who are waiting for the bus to stop before they fumble in their pockets or bags to find their masks and drivers have to wait for them to put them on. But otherwise the public is cooperating very well and we congratulate them for that and we hope it continues,” Mr Julie told Seychelles NATION.

One driver I spoke to confirmed that people are cooperating and he said this means they understand the reasons behind such a measure. But he added that he believes more public awareness is needed so people know how to remove the masks carefully and not just rip them off their faces and toss them in their bags or pockets once they get off the bus.

Some people are complaining that it makes their faces hot and stuffy and they cannot breathe properly when wearing the mask, especially if they are asthmatic or suffer from sinus problems.

But health professionals insist that masks are the best protection in the present circumstances.

“It is not that comfortable wearing a mask from Takamaka to Victoria but I believe it is the least we can do to protect ourselves and others from an invisible but very dangerous and deadly virus,” a lady told me. She was still wearing her mask even after getting off the bus near the ex-Children’s playground in Victoria.

She went on to add that it is high time people realise that the situation facing us is very serious and we should not take any precautionary measures lightly, but rather take our responsibility to do our part to ensure we break the chain of transmission to prevent the spread of the virus like the Public Health Authority is constantly asking us to do.

Commuters especially those from the far south and west Mahe who had been spending long hours at the bus stop before securing a place on the public bus since the social distancing measure was introduced on the bus, have welcomed the alternative decision to wear masks instead to allow for more people to board the bus at a time.

“At least I can now get a seat on the 6am bus. I was really finding it difficult as I was arriving late at work,” a commuter from the south stated.

Meanwhile, Mr Julie is urging commuters not to remove their masks once they are seated but to keep them on all throughout their journey.

He said it is important that they do so otherwise their action will defeat the whole purpose of the measure which is to ensure protection of yourself and others around you from any possible infections.

Asked why not all drivers are wearing masks, Mr Julie said drivers have been exempted because they spend long hours behind the wheel but they will be protected if all commuters boarding the bus wear a mask.

For commuters who need reusable masks, Mr Julie said they are on sale at all SPTC bus stations. He said the SPTC has also asked the Enterprise Seychelles Agency (Esa) to encourage small entrepreneurs making masks locally to come and sell them at the different bus stations without any rental fee for the next six months.

Mr Julie has also commended work places which have made face masks available or facilitate their availability for their employees.

 

Marie-Anne Lepathy

 

 

 

 

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