Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Kate Hawkesby: A lot of questions remain about mandatory masks on transport


I see the mandatory mask mandate is coming.. and there will be many people happy about that.

There seems to be a large portion of this country who are happy to be locked down, made to scan in and out of places, have businesses closed, do as their told.

It’s been a revelation this year just how law abiding and fearful we are as a country.. barely anyone dare question the status quo – if the PM says it, we do it. Not only that, half the country voted for more of it.

So given more rules are coming for all of us, will more people follow them?

Because from what I’ve seen, despite all the enthusiasm for this government’s handling of Covid, many still don’t follow the rules.

They like the rules, they applaud the rules, they want rules, but they somehow don’t always want to follow them.

Or they forget – forget to sign in, forget to use the app, forget to wear a mask.

So once it’s mandatory.. whose policing it?

This educate over enforcement thing is all well and good, but you know who will be policing it?

The Karens.

Are we going to see an upsurge in narks? Tattle tales. Snitches.

Is there a hotline to rat on people who don’t mask up?

What happens when someone flies into a full rage at a fellow passenger who may be mask-less?

Will there be citizens arrests?

How much time is the bus driver or the train attendant going to spend arguing with someone over a mask?

Will bus drivers be standing you off their bus if you’re not wearing one?

During the last bout of public transport mask rules during Level 2 in Auckland, my daughter and her friend went to catch a bus and they didn’t have masks on them. Simply forgot, didn’t even think about it. The driver told them they couldn’t hop on without one.

So they obligingly hopped off, ran to the Dairy next to the bus stop, purchased a disposable one each and waited for the next bus.

But is that the bus drivers job? To dictate terms? And what about people at bus stops who aren’t near a Dairy or don’t have spare change to just whip wound the corner and buy one?

Will buses be supplying masks?

Likewise on planes.. if you’re running late for a flight and you rock up to board and you’ve forgotten your mask, are you stood down off the flight? Will airlines be expected to supply passengers masks? How many? And for how long are they supplying them given this rule is for the foreseeable.

So while we may all be in raptures about the government's Covid rules and making us mask up, the important thing to make it actually effective.. is that everybody does it. Because although many are well intentioned and in theory might think masks are a great idea, when you're busy racing for a bus.. what happens if you forget to bring one?

God forbid we incur the wrath of the Karen's.

Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.

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