Free face masks for low incomes in Eindhoven now that door policy is not the same everywhere? | Coronavirus


EINDHOVEN – Free face masks for people with a low income? Now that supermarkets and museums can become people without it, the FNV trade union is calling for free masks in the Brabant-Southeast region. Especially now that differences in door policy are emerging in the region.

Free mouth masks?

“People with the smallest wallets are already having a hard time because of corona and cannot afford the costs for those masks,” says Maureen van der Pligt, director of FNV Benefit Beneficiaries. “Especially now that in some cities and regions you are being urged to wear a face mask and shops can refuse you if you don’t.”

The trade union asks municipalities to pay for the masks from the special assistance or with a general temporary measure. “If necessary, give all minimums five fabrics, washable face masks, as they already do in Rotterdam, for example. That would give a lot of people some relief ”, says Van der Pligt. The municipality of Eindhoven has not yet responded to the call.

Cotton masks often cost from a few euros to – for certain brands – ten euros, depending on the quality and print.

More and more masks to be seen?

From Tuesday evening, the urgent advice will apply to the entire Brabant-Southeast region to wear masks in public indoor spaces. Chains such as Jumbo and Albert Heijn support the advice of the cabinet and a number of mayors to wear a face mask in the store. But they leave the choice to customers whether they actually do this. A mouth mask is required when visiting the Philips Museum or the Bijenkorf. HEMA will not refuse customers who do not wear a mouth mask. According to the retailer, it is not up to retailers to enforce such measures. The retail chain is still investigating whether it is possible to offer face masks free of charge at the door.

A Jumbo supermarket in Eindhoven
A Jumbo supermarket in Eindhoven © ANP

In regions of Brabant where mouth masks are not yet urgently recommended, such as in Breda, more and more masks can be seen in supermarkets.

Aggression at the door

If shops start making face masks mandatory, it is expected that this will lead to a lot of extra discussion and even aggression at the door, says supermarket umbrella CBL. The industry wants to protect personnel from this. Staff in the areas concerned are also advised to wear a mouth mask, but according to the CBL employees at the supers are also allowed to decide for themselves whether they do this.

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The cabinet continues to have doubts about the introduction of a masking obligation. Just like the OMT, by the way. This writes that the use of masks ‘can be additionally advised’ in places where it is difficult to keep 1.5 meters away, such as in shops in the big cities. But, it says emphatically: “On this point the members of the OMT were divided.”

Within the OMT there is a group that thinks: if it does not work, it does not harm. A cluster that believes in usefulness and some that think that people are inclined to keep less distance with a mask on. And that it therefore creates danger. Nevertheless, the OMT on Monday recommended ‘preventive’ mask use for visitors to nursing homes across the country. The cabinet has decided to apply this only to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague for the time being.

There may be a new rule about mouth masks in public spaces before October 20, now that the OMT has been asked for new advice.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge (Health, Welfare and Sport) during a press conference about the current state of affairs regarding the corona virus in the Netherlands.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge (Health, Welfare and Sport) during a press conference about the current state of affairs regarding the corona virus in the Netherlands. © ANP

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