Councillors react as anti-mask leaflets glued to Wibsey shops

COUNCILLORS have urged locals to question “damaging” leaflets containing conspiracies about face masks and coronavirus that were glued onto shop doors in Wibsey.

The flyer, which contained a web link to a well-known conspiracy website, told both residents and business owners to “refuse slavery” and take part in the “resistance” against coronavirus guidance and in particular the increased use of face masks.

From July 24, it will become compulsory to wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets.

Anyone who fails to comply facing a fine of up to £100.

It is not known who put the leaflets up or when they were first put up.

Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

Some businesses binned the poster as soon as they noticed it while others took it down.

Hairdresser Kayleigh Leadbeater, who runs Gloss & Glow, said it was one of her customers who first saw the sign and she immediately took it down.

Kayleigh told the Telegraph & Argus: “We didn’t realise what it was at first. They’ve glued it on. I don’t know what they’ve put it on with but it’s glued on. I’m going to have to try and get it off.

“We have to follow the guidelines the Government set out. We’ve got to do no matter what, otherwise we’ll be shut down.

“Everyone has their own opinion and I understand the different views but as a business I have to stick to the Government guidelines. If they tell us to close, we have to close. If people have to wear masks to protect clients, we have to use them.

“We have said to the clients – we have to wear the vistors, we have all the PPE, we have time to clean between every client, we have got gel everywhere for them to use – we have masks they can use if they wish to.”

Councillor David Green (Labour, Wibsey) said he was “appalled” by the letters and hopes most people will stick to the rules set out.

Last week Sarah Muckle, the director of Public Health for Bradford Council, said “there is growing evidence on the benefits of wearing face coverings” and that using a face covering in busier places protects you from getting Covid-19 from asymptomatic carriers.

Cllr Green said: “These conspiracy theory websites and ideologies are putting people’s lives at risk. I’m appalled that people would be trying to encourage what’s not just to put their own lives at risk but the risk of other members of the population.

“We’ve got a big enough challenge in Bradford without this sort or information being spread around.

“I would urge everyone to continue to follow guidance.”

Giving advice to locals, he said: “As long as they’re covering their mouth and nose, whether it’s with a face mask or with a scarf – although ideally with a proper face mask – it has means tested to reduce the risk of infection.”

Cllr Sabiya Khan (Labour, Wibsey) also warned that this type of misinformation affects the most vulnerable.

She explained: “They are damaging because we encourage people to have responsibility, to urge people to follow the Government guidelines.

“We always ask businesses to check with the local council if they receive information like this.

“It’s been period of fake information that’s been circulating right from the beginning of the pandemic and some of it just seems so ‘believable’ and that it’s ‘truthful’. You can’t understand why people do that.

“People are vulnerable already and to receive something like this…”

Speaking in Parliament, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the law change would “give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops”.

He said: “Sadly, sales assistants, cashiers and security guards have suffered disproportionately in this crisis.

“The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher amongst men and 60% higher amongst women than in the general population.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus | News