Security leader says mandatory face mask rule is impractical
According to Hubert Bruls, Nijmegen mayor and chairman of the Security Council, the idea to quickly implement an obligation to wear masks in public spaces is both unwise and impractical. "The core of our policy is to keep a distance. That prevents infections. With a mask on, you run the risk that the distance of one and a half meters is no longer observed," Bruls said on radio program Spraakmakers, responding to the mayors of Amsterdam and Rotterdam calling for masks to be worn in more places.
According to Bruls, the wearing of masks is not an idea "that is widely shared in mayors country". He warned against changing the coronavirus approach too quickly. "If you introduce a face mask requirement now, it will lead to chaos. I cannot guarantee that my people will be able to enforce it properly," Bruls said. "Let's be real: will people in the pub or at a party at home wear a face mask?"
The only advantage he can see to wearing face masks is that "those things are so annoying that they raise awareness of the coronavirus." According to Bruls, there is no clear scientific evidence that masks actually provide safety. "In countries where it has been implemented, the infections are not really doing well."
Multiple countries worldwide, including a number of European countries, have made the wearing of face masks mandatory in public spaces. Bruls can not rule out that it will eventually also happen in the Netherlands. But that will require "a good story from the national government" and it cannot be realized in the short term, he said.