York MP says Boris Johnson’s plan to ease the lockdown puts people’s safety at risk

10 May 2020 @ 8.41 pm
| News

A York MP has cast doubt over some of the measures to ease the lockdown outlined in the Prime Minister’s address to the nation this evening (Sunday).

Boris Johnson said people unable to work from home – such as those in construction and manufacturing – are “actively encouraged to go to work” from tomorrow, though use of public transport should still be limited.

But Labour’s Rachael Maskell said she cannot see how this is possible until workplaces until risk assessments and other safety measures were in place.

Mr Johnson also said from Wednesday people will also be allowed to spend more time outdoors for leisure purposes, as long as they are socially distanced from others.

And he outlined plans to open primary schools to reception, Years 1 and 6 children from next month. Shops would reopen from June, and some hospitality businesses reopening from July – all dependant on the infection rate staying low.

More evidence needed

York Central MP Rachael Maskell

Ms Maskell said: “It is one thing to have optimism and aspiration, it is another to ensure safety and base all decisions on evidence.

“It is understandable why people are yearning for greater freedoms at this time, however I cannot see how people can physically return to work until a full risk assessment is undertaken and the risks mitigated through policies and practice to ensure social distancing, hygiene and PPE use can be stringently adhered to.

“Likewise with the return of schools, parents and teachers need to be confident that the way that schools operate.”

She said more evidence was needed to show other aspects of the economy can function safely, “and in the interim workers need their financial security strengthened”.

The MP added:

  • I believe that many will welcome the measures of having greater freedoms, but we need to ensure that risk is not increased in York.

    Staying safe and socially distancing ourselves, and continuing with hand washing and high levels of hygiene must remain our focus. Covid-19 is still highly contagious, prevalent in our community and is still resulting in people becoming seriously ill and dying.

    We cannot compromise on safety, and should anyone feel unsafe at work or in the community, they must be able to report this, and have their concerns addressed.