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Some companies to insist staff and customers still wear face masks after July 19th

Despite masks becoming voluntary from the 19th, some companies could still enforce them



Gabriella Clare Marino & @arturorey / Unsplash

A number of businesses and firms will continue to enforce the use of face masks upon their staff and customers, despite them becoming a matter of ‘personal choice’ after July 19th.

Airlines have been the ones to lead the way with the controversial decision – big names such as RyanAir and British Airways have said that both staff and passengers will still be required to wear a mask, regardless of the destination they’re travelling to and from. 

A spokesperson for RyanAir explained that their decision is in keeping with current guidance from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, as per the BBC.

Markus Winkler / Unsplash

And as for public transport? 

Well, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said he is ‘very relaxed’ if transport operators want to make mask-wearing compulsory. 

He said that he thinks operators should do ‘what was right in given circumstances,’ adding that he would support individual transport organisations if they wanted to mandate the use of masks.

The most important thing, he said, was ‘to reassure people that it is safe to travel, which it is, as it happens.’

@arturorey / Unsplash

A number of retail outlets could also be enforcing the use of face masks across their work force and clientele – with the shop workers union Usdaw even urging the government not to lift Covid safety measures in shops.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary, said: “Retail staff are working with the public every day and are deeply worried about catching Covid-19.

“This is not the right time to water down safety in stores and the government should not be removing the requirements for face coverings and distancing in busy public areas like shops.”

As of July 19th, Covid restrictions such as the use of face masks and social distancing will becoming voluntary as the country is urged to ‘learn to live with the virus.’


Three-year-old boy mauled to death in ‘devastating’ dog attack in Rochdale

GMP have confirmed they are probing ‘previous incidents involving dogs’ at the same property



Michael Ely / Geograph

A three-year-old boy has died following a ‘devastating’ dog attack in Rochdale yesterday afternoon.

Officers were called out to a property near Carr Lane in Milnrow, Rochdale, at around 1:15pm on Sunday, May 15th, to reports of a dog attack.

Upon their arrival, the toddler was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, where he was tragically pronounced dead.

Police said they believe he ‘succumbed to injuries received as a result of a dog attack’.

Detective Superintendent Jamie Daniels of GMP’s Public Protection and Serious Crime Division said the force was probing ‘previous incidents involving dogs’ at the property.

No arrests have been made at this stage, though officers are continuing their enquiries today.

Detective Superintendent Daniels said: “This is a tragic, devastating incident and our thoughts are with the family at this horrendous time.

“We are investigating the incident and previous incidents involving dogs at this address.

“While our enquiries to find out what happened will be thorough and are very much in their infancy, we suspect that this little boy has, sadly, succumbed to injuries received as a result of a dog attack.

“I understand this is an extremely distressing incident for all concerned and this news will rock the local community.

Greater Manchester Police / Facebook

“I can only assure everyone that we will work relentlessly to establish the full circumstances that led to this tragedy and while we retain an open mind, this is now being dealt with as a criminal investigation.

“There will be a significant police presence in the area – we will be there to carry out an investigation and address any concerns residents may have.”

Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 5413 quoting incident 1615 of 15/05/2022.

Information can also be reported online or by using the LiveChat function at If you can’t report online, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Andy Burnham reveals new Clean Air Zone plan would be a ‘non-charging zone’

Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone was supposed to come into force this month, but was pushed back following region-wide back lash




Mayor Andy Burnham has revealed he will be requesting permission to have a non-charging clean air zone for Greater Manchester.

Since its announcement last year, the controversial plans to charge certain motorists to drive within Greater Manchester was met with overwhelming backlash, with many saying the proposed Clean Air Zone would leave small and independent businesses bankrupt.

The charges, which were originally poised to come into force in this month, would have included £60 for HGVs, buses and coaches, £10 for vans and £7.50 for taxis and private hire cars.

Following region-wide protests on the matter, Greater Manchester Councils voted to refer the scheme back to the government at the start of the year, with them now having until July 2022 to revise the plan.

And giving an update on the progress of the revised scheme at a press conference this morning, the mayor unveiled his plans to introduce a new ‘non-charging’ zone for the region.

As reported by the BBC’s Kevin Fitzpatrick, Burnham outlined a new plan for a ‘non-charging zone’, that affects buses, coaches, HGVs and taxis.

Read More: Boris Johnson says Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone is ‘completely unworkable’

These vehicles will reportedly be offered grants to ‘upgrade to cleaner vehicles rather than face daily charges’, though the government will have the final say on this. 

Burnham will be requesting permission from the government to implement this newly revised scheme before the July 2022 deadline.

The Clean Air Zone was originally designed in an attempt to ‘protect everyone’s health by bringing harmful nitrogen dioxide air pollution at the roadside within legal limits’.

The government initiated the idea after the Supreme Court found it had broken the law by failing to protect people from polluted air.

In response, they placed legal instructions to ‘clean up the air’ on local councils across the country, with all ten Greater Manchester councils being directed to collectively reduce air pollution across the region by 2024.

Visit the official Clean Air Greater Manchester website for more information.

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Cancer campaigner Deborah James honoured with a damehood

Deborah announced the end of her cancer treatment on Monday night



Cancer campaigner and podcast host Deborah James has been honoured with a damehood, the government announced last night.

Since announcing the tragic news that she had been moved to end of life hospice care to manage her terminal bowel cancer, Deborah has raised over £4m for her newly established Bowel Babe Fund.

The charity will raise money for charities close to Deborah’s heart, including Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

A statement posted onto the website last night read: “The Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of Damehood be conferred upon Deborah James.”

After she was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in 2016, the mother-of-two become heavily involved in charity work to raise money and awareness for cancer research, growing a loyal fan base on Instagram where she is known as Bowel Babe.

But on Monday evening, she shared the ‘message I never wanted to write’, announcing that her treatment had been stopped and she had been moved into hospice at home care.

In an emotional Instagram post, James wrote: “We have tried everything, but my body simply isn’t playing ball.

“My active care has stopped and I am now moved to hospice at home care, with my incredible family all around me and the focus is on making sure I’m not in pain and spending time with them.

“Nobody knows how long I’ve got left but I’m not able to walk, I’m sleeping most of the days, and most things I took for granted are pipe dreams.

“I know we have left no stone unturned. But even with all the innovative cancer drugs in the world or some magic new breakthrough, my body just can’t continue anymore.”

She admitted that while her situation is ‘heartbreaking to be going through’, she is surrounded by so much love that ‘if anything can help me through I hope that will’.

Deborah went on to share her fundraiser, writing: “All I ask if you ever read a column, followed my Instagram, listened to the podcast or saw me dressed as a poo for no reason. Please buy me a drink to see me out this world, by donating the cost to @bowelbabefund which will enable us to raise funds for further life saving research into cancer.”

You can donate for yourself here.

For more information on bowel cancer and the early signs to look out for, visit Bowel Cancer UK and Cancer Research UK.

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