London mayor Sadiq Khan demands shops stock more face masks

London mayor Sadiq Khan demands shops stock more face masks as commuters continue to travel without them on busy rush-hour services

  • Mr Khan asks stores to stock non-medical face coverings to help Londoners 
  • He reiterates that Londoners should stay at home ‘as much as possible’ 
  • The Mayor says medical-grade masks should be kept for frontline NHS workers
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has demanded shops and supermarkets to stock more face masks as public transport passengers travel across the capital without any protection.

Mr Khan is asking stores to help Londoners access reusable non-medical face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus in enclosed spaces as the lockdown restrictions are eased.

Workers are returning to the commute this week as Mr Khan vowed to restore Transport for London services to 75% of pre-lockdown levels from Monday.

While London commuters have are being urged to avoid public transport, Mr Khan said he wants everyone who does use it to wear face masks for the whole of their journey.

Platforms at Caning Town station are busy again this morning, with many people not wearing any face covering as they journey in to work 

Passengers on London’s trains and buses have been seen travelling without any protective face masks as they travel to work today 

In the letter, sent on Wednesday, he added: ‘I would like to ask for your help with ensuring Londoners are able to access non-medical face coverings to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

‘Although Londoners should stay at home as much as possible, I am asking those who must use public transport for essential travel to wear a non-medical face covering for the entirety of their journey.

‘Furthermore, I hope that Londoners will choose to wear face coverings when out doing their shopping, helping to keep you, your staff and their fellow customers safe.’

Tube passengers are being told to socially distance wherever possible and to avoid stations during rush hour, but commuters continue to arrive today as people return to work after the coronavirus lockdown

People head to work at Canning Town station on Wednesday morning, the same day Sadiq Khan has written a letter to shops asking them to stock non-medical grade face coverings to protect commuters while preserving PPE levels for NHS workers 

Signs at Canary Wharf station on Tuesday urged passengers to stay away during rush hour. Carriages on the Jubilee Line showed little room for social distancing as passengers sat next to one another, while passengers on the capital’s buses were forced to stand.  

Mr Khan said that while City Hall is encouraging people to use homemade face coverings, there will be people who will want to buy ready-made ones instead.

But he stressed that the coverings should not be medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE) to make sure supplies are not diverted from frontline NHS and care staff.

He added: ‘I am therefore urging you to stock supplies of reusable, non-medical face coverings in all of your London stores, at a price point that makes them accessible to all Londoners.

‘Coverings for the public sale should not be medical-grade PPE as we must not divert supplies of this vital protective equipment from health, care and other key workers in the frontline of the fight against Covid-19.’

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is also urging its members and the wider retail sector to stock up on re-usable face coverings to keep the public safe during the transition out of lockdown.

Working alongside Mr Khan, Bira is urging shops such as hardware stores to stock up to make sure there are enough to meet demand.

Its CEO Andrew Goodacre said: ‘Independent retailers want to play their part in keeping customers safe and giving consumers confidence to return to the shops as and when they open.

‘As they tend to sell PPE, we want to ensure local hardware stores ramp up supply to keep the public safe, to help people avoid needing to travel to the larger, more populated, out of town DIY stores to buy masks.

‘We also want to help protect the NHS supply chain by ensuring the public are sold face coverings that are not those used by the NHS and other health service key workers.’

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