A Southport councillor is calling for local people to ‘jump the gun’ when it comes to wearing masks in the town’s shops rather than waiting until Friday when it becomes illegal to shop without covering your mouth and nose.

Southport, says Councillor Tony Dawson could become the first ‘safe shopping zone’ in the North West if people there voluntarily started wearing face masks. This could encourage more local residents and visitors to the town to start shopping again as the town’s retail re-opens after lock-down.

“The law says people must wear face masks in all shops as well as on public transport from Friday,” says Councillor Dawson. “But why should we wait? If everybody starts wearing masks right away and we tell the world that we are doing so then we could maybe attract some cautious shoppers to come to the town again a little earlier.”

“There are still thousands of people out there in Southport, particularly elderly people, who do not trust what the government is saying about COVID safety and are wary about starting shopping again. Across the North West right now there are hundreds of thousands of such people. We could tell the nation: “Southport is a safe shopping zone”.

Many more people would feel a lot happier to go out again if everyone in the shops was wearing face masks right now. Here in Southport, we have far more vulnerable elderly residents than in most towns and they need to feel safe.”

“Japan, which has not even had a full lockdown, has had mass usage of face masks right from the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Although their population is twice that of the UK they have had only 1000 COVID deaths compared to Britain’s tens of thousands.”