LETTERS – Don’t risk a second spike

Unite, which represents workers throughout public transport including over 80,000 bus workers, is warning that a second spike in COVID-19 infections is becoming ever more likely due to increasing non-compliance with face covering and social distancing rules on public transport.

Unite issued its warning on Friday after transport secretary Grant Shapps announced that bus and rail timetables will return to 85 per cent of normal services in July.

However, Unite is increasingly concerned that rules on wearing masks/face coverings and maintaining social distancing on public transport are frequently being ignored, which dramatically increase the risk of infection.

Only the police have the power to fine someone for flouting the rules on face coverings.

It is the responsibility of bus operators, not the bus drivers, to prevent overcrowding and to order passengers not following the rules to leave a vehicle.

Unite members are increasingly reporting the rules on face coverings and social distancing on public transport, especially buses, are being flouted.

With the frequency of public transport increasing and passenger numbers rising, the danger of a second spike will be greatly increased unless decisive action is taken to ensure the rules are followed.

It is not the role of bus drivers, nor do they have the power, to prevent someone without a face covering from boarding a bus.

The failure of bus operators and the police to deal with this increasing problem is potentially risking the health and safety of bus workers and passengers, and could have disastrous consequences for the nation’s public health.

During the COVID-19 crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

This pandemic is far from over and it’s vital we proceed with caution and instil as much protection as possible for workers and public alike.

Rodney Sadd

Union Delegate
South Holland & The Deepings CLP

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