The Anonymous Widower

Should We Be Given More Discretion Over Mask Wearing?

I am a bad breather and have been so for most of my life.

I suspect, it’s because I grew up in London smogs and that ruined my breathing.

But my father and his father were also bad breathers and my grandfather died before he was forty of pneumonia.

So when I go on public transport, I find the following.

  • I have difficulty climbing stairs with my mask on.
  • I can’t wait to get out of the station or bus to take off my mask and put it in my pocket.
  • Often in London during the day, there is only a few people on the bus or train and we are all sitting there quietly at least three or four metres apart.
  • If I explain my breathing to staff, they will let me remove my mask. I have done this a coule of times, when I have to climb stairs to get out of a station.

Sometimes too, I’ll be on a crowded Underground train for part of my journey, but at other times, I’ll be one of perhaps three in an air-conditioned bus.

As of Thursday rules will say, that we don’t need masks in England, but the Mayor has said we must wear them on public transport in London.

I would like to see some personal discretion, so that some like me would feel more comfortable on public transport, when it is less busy.

January 24, 2022 - Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. As always, there must be exceptions to a rule, especially if to comply with a rule that is supposed to protect you (and others) worsens your own well-being and/or health. A pity they didn’t think it necessary to make exceptions beforehand—this makes it look so draconian that would make people less likely to want to comply. We wear masks here in Singapore except with valid medical reasons, when consuming food or drinks, exercising or if a child below a certain age. Best be safe and get a doctor’s note in case someone tries to kick you out — they shouldn’t.

    Comment by Minuit | January 24, 2022 | Reply

  2. Hello to a reader in Singapore.

    It’s a long time since I visited your wonderful city. My late wife and I used to remember the food regularly, including the excellent rijstafel. Do they still allow that, these days, as you can imagine what went on in Dutch colonial days in Indonesia?

    I don’t think you need to carry a doctor’s note, as when I’ve asked staff have been sympathetic. But rarely do I use stations in London that haven’t got escalators, lifts or are level access.

    Comment by AnonW | January 24, 2022 | Reply

  3. I wear a mask, because I am at high risk if I get covid. I don’t like wearing them, but I put up with it – it doesn’t affect my breathing. What concerns me is the people who test positive for covid are no longer going to need to self isolate, and many will be wandering around without masks. Or not bothering to test so don’t know they are positive. I have some FP something or other masks, which are more comfortable if I have to wear them for a long time. But with the latest easing of restrictions, the world will feel an unsafe place again.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | January 24, 2022 | Reply

  4. I think you may have a case for being exempt from wearing a face covering although it is unspecific. Have a look at

    Comment by HW | January 24, 2022 | Reply

  5. While you mention using stations with escalators and lifts many tube stations have stairs to and from platforms while Mainline stations also have stairs and this is tge part of tge journey tgat can cause problems.

    While the blanket wearing of masks on TFL takes no notice of the difference between open air stations and deep tube stations and treats them the same !

    I believe the rules should mainly cover the wearing of masks while on trains or crowded tube stations and not when your the only passenger on an S stock train in Metroland !

    Comment by Melvyn | January 24, 2022 | Reply

  6. During lockdown, I would sometimes go to a particular draughty station with a friendly coffee stall and have a hot chocolate to get some air. I used to drink it, at the long end of the platform.

    Comment by AnonW | January 24, 2022 | Reply

  7. The thing is that masks do not protect you from others, they are to protect others from you. An analogy:–

    1. Two naked men standing close together talking. One starts to pee, both get splashed.
    2. One naked man and one fully clothed standing close together talking. The naked man starts to pee, BOTH get splashes.
    3. Two fully clothed men standing together talking. One starts to pee, the other one stays dry.

    Comment by Maurice Reed | January 25, 2022 | Reply

  8. Easy enough to buy exemption lanyards from Amazon.No need to prove anything if you wear one.

    Comment by Hugh Steavenson | January 25, 2022 | Reply

  9. […] I set out my views on masks in the title of Should We Be Given More Discretion Over Mask Wearing?. […]

    Pingback by The Joy Of Freedom « The Anonymous Widower | February 25, 2022 | Reply

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