Coronavirus: Mayor urges London shops to stock reusable face masks

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Commuters wearing face masks on TubeImage source, AFP
Image caption,
Commuters have been told they should wear face coverings when travelling on public transport

London's mayor has written to all major supermarkets calling on them to stock face coverings to help protect people using the capital's public transport.

In his letter, Sadiq Khan asked that masks should be reusable, non-medical and at a price which was "accessible to all".

Mr Khan said face masks would be "essential" as the lockdown was lifted.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The government has advised face coverings should be worn when social distancing is not possible

The letter urges supermarkets and shops "to stock supplies of reusable, non-medical face coverings in all of your London stores".

"Whilst we at City Hall are encouraging the use of homemade face coverings, I recognise that there will be many Londoners who will need or want to purchase a ready-made product instead," Mr Khan wrote.

He added those coverings going on sale should not be medical-grade masks in order to protect supplies for front-line workers.

"Given that I am asking the public to use face covering when on public transport, there will be a huge demand for them in the coming weeks," he said.

Media caption,
Coronavirus: How to socially distance on public transport

The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) has also called on its members "to play their part in keeping customers safe" by stocking face coverings.

Chief executive Andrew Goodacre said: "As they tend to sell personal protection equipment (PPE), we want to ensure local hardware stores ramp up supply to keep the public safe, to help people avoid needing to travel to the larger, more populated, out of town DIY stores to buy masks."

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