July 19 spells the end for the vast majority of COVID-19 restrictions in the UK – marking the final step on a roadmap out of a national lockdown which has stretched on for seven months.
Social distancing is being stopped. Mass gatherings are being permitted. And nightclubs are all reopening. Life is apparently heading towards something resembling normality once again. But it’s all happening at a peculiar time.
COVID-19 cases are at their highest point since January – prompting some to argue that certain restrictions should remain in place.
The government has already postponed its ‘Freedom Day’ by a month – with the UK originally scheduled to come out of restrictions on June 21. But whilst infection rates continue to spike, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has argued that the reopening should now go ahead – stating that “if we couldn’t open up in the coming weeks, then when could we?”
The biggest point of contention, however, has remained the use of face coverings.
With that in mind, here are the restrictions for public transport in Manchester.
Do I have to wear a mask on the Metrolink?
Face coverings will remain compulsory on Greater Manchester’s Metrolink service beyond July 19.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham confirmed earlier this week that wearing a mask will be required across the network until further notice.
Failure to comply with these Conditions of Carriage could see passengers refused travel and/or fined up to £100.
Burnham has also been working with other Mayors in England as part of a campaign to encourage the government to reverse its decision on masks nationwide – saying the “best solution is to continue the national requirement” for face coverings on all transport.
The Mayor stated: “There are around 200,000 people in Greater Manchester who are clinically vulnerable and I believe the Government’s decision to drop the requirement to wear face masks on public transport could put those people more at risk when using public transport, or force them off altogether.
“I do not believe they should be put in that unfair position.
“I have been listening to people’s concerns and, in response, have decided to continue to require the wearing of face coverings on Metrolink.”
Do I have to wear a mask on the bus or train?
It is up to the transport operator as to whether the use of masks will be enforced on buses or trains in Greater Manchester – as they do not fall under the remit of the Mayor.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), which represents major bus and coach operators such as National Express and Megabus, said it will not be making masks a requirement past July 19.
A CPT statement reads: “We expect that many people, especially in busy places, will follow the Prime Minister’s call to continue to wear a face covering as a courtesy to others.
“Passengers, though, will find it difficult to understand why the Prime Minister has singled out public transport as somewhere to wear a face covering when a range of other activities share its characteristics.
“We now need to see clear guidance for operators and customers but, in the absence of regulations, it is important that we respect everyone’s right to choose whether to wear a face covering.”
Train industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) announced that most domestic train operators, such as Avanti West Coast, TransPennine Express and Southeastern will not require passengers to use face coverings on board.
An RDG spokesman said: “Rail companies will ask people to follow the Government guidance and, out of respect for others, wear face coverings if an indoor setting is busy.
“Train travel is low-risk, with the majority of carriages well ventilated by air conditioning systems or by doors and windows.”
Eurostar, however, will ask passengers to continue wearing masks beyond July 19.
British Airways, EasyJet, Virgin and Ryanair, have specified that masks will be required on board their flights.
Family of murdered Salah Adam Eldin, 21, pay tribute to ‘beautiful son and true hero’
The family of Salah Adam Eldin, a 21-year-old stabbed to death in Old Trafford last week, have paid a heartbreaking tribute to a ‘genuine and loving soul’.
Salah sadly died on Wednesday 31 May after he was found with serious injuries on Kings Road.
A murder investigation has been launched, and 19-year-old Demari Adrian Raymond Rose has been charged with murder and possession of a bladed article.
Salah’s family have described him as ‘the backbone of the family’ and described his respectful, kind and caring nature.
They wrote that support has poured in from across the globe, saying that ‘he was so much to so many people’.
In a tribute issued through GMP, his family said: “Salah was the backbone of the family and carried the family through anything and everything. He was our precious, beautiful son and a true hero.
“He was a supportive brother and precious son, a most genuine and loving soul with a big heart. He always found space in his heart to forgive all.
“He was always respectful and had kind words to say for all, everyone who met him wanted to be friends with him and was respected by all people of all ages.
“We are immensely proud of him. The continuous tributes from his friends, as far and wide as Africa, North America, The Middle East, Europe and from every corner of the world as well as here at home in England, his friends coming with heavy hearts and tears of deep sadness.
“Yes, our heart is filled with grief and pain, the reality that we will no longer hear his voice on the end of the phone. We grieve and wait for the day that we will one day all be reunited as a family together again and it will be forever.
“As a family we are able to support one another with the help of the wonderful friends and family that we have in the community and beyond. The support has been immeasurable, with everyone suffering the same pain and loss of Salah. He was so much to so many people. His short time in this world, he has his legacy of being a kind and caring young man and so loved. The amount of people who have reached out to support us, it is overwhelming and yet wonderful at the same time.
“As a mother, I have no words to describe the depth of my pain, grief and sorrow that I am going through, and I wish no mother must experience the layers of sadness and grief that I and Salah’s siblings and family are going through.
“Our lives have changed forever and we thank Greater Manchester Police for doing all they can to get justice and who have been very supportive, and we thank endless stream of friends and the community from the bottom of our hearts for their continuous love and support that they give us.”
Salah’s family have asked for continued privacy while they grieve for their loss.
Featured image: GMP
Coronation Street legend Julie Goodyear diagnosed with dementia
Coronation Street legend Julie Goodyear, who famously played the iconic character Bet Lynch for over 25 years, has sadly been diagnosed with dementia.
Issuing a statement via ITV, her husband Scott Brand confirmed that they had been given the “heartbreaking diagnosis” this week.
Goodyear, 81, played the legendary Rovers Return pub landlord for over two decades across two different spells on the show, starting in 1966 before leaving the show for good in 1995.
Brand told the outlet on Wednesday: “Unfortunately, Julie has been suffering forgetfulness for some time and we have been seeking medical advice and assistance, but we now know that there is no hope of a reversal in the situation – and that her condition will get progressively, and perhaps speedily, worse.”
He went on to say that he and Goodyear “have taken the decision to publicly announce the diagnosis as Julie still loves visiting friends and eating out”, noting that she inevitably gets recognised “and fans love to meet her – and she them – but she can get confused particularly if she is tired” and adding they “hope people will understand.”
The Manc soap star and household name is from Heywood in Rochdale and retired from acting in 2003 after making her final special appearance on the Coronation Street spin-off, After Hours.