‘Covid isn’t over yet – we should challenge weak excuses not to wear masks’ – Paul Routledge

The image will stay with me for a long time.

It was of a man with an oxygen mask clamped to his face, stressed out and trying to sleep.

A picture of fear, on the phone of a Northern Rail worker who uses oxygen at home to cope with the stress of his job.

He showed it to me after he and the guard on our train had to cope with a gang of unruly lasses refusing to wear masks.

I noticed these teenagers racing noisily through Leeds station, and asked two rail company officials why they didn’t enforce the rules.

“They might have a disability,” came the reply. “Not all disabilities are obvious.

“We can’t challenge them, only the British Transport Police can.”

Weak, lazy. It was perfectly obvious they were only too able-bodied, unless you count being ratted as a disability.

Their disruptive behaviour continued on board, where guards have a body camera. I’m told they will become standard issue for all on-board staff.

This is what rules relaxation has come to.

Too many people, particularly the teens and twenties, think it’s all over. It isn’t.

And certainly not here, with hotspots remaining, including the community where they got off, where the infection rate was running at 105 per 100,000.

Train staff and other public service workers have a right to be protected from Covidiots like the stupid gang on my train. The mask rules are there for a purpose, to protect the wearer and the rest of us.

There is a £6,400 maximum fine for flagrant breaches.

I hope these kids get hit where it hurts – in their parents’ pockets.

The masks should be on their faces, not my friend on the train.

What is your view? Have your say in the comments section


Looking down the tests for being “over the hill”, I’ve obviously been there quite some time, without knowing it.

I haven’t stopped using Facebook – never started. Ditto hashtags, whatever they are. And I’ve yet to post a video on social media.

Under-30s think we are past it by the age of 45, which shows just how much they know.

Trouble is, life is like the Himalayas. There’s always another damned hill beyond the one you just got over.


Yorkshire shoppers are the most likely to buy wine if they like the label, according to a survey by Aussie plonkmeister Jacob’s Creek.

I’ve been up that one without a paddle more times than I care to mention, m’lud.

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