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Taxi drivers given free face coverings for passengers
Taxi drivers across Southend-on-Sea have been given free face coverings to hand out to their passengers free-of-charge.
A total of 80,000 face coverings are to be collected thanks to funding from the Government to give to transport providers.
Taxi companies across the Borough have been contacted to see if they want to take advantage of the initiative for their drivers, with 150 coverings for every licenced taxi. A separate arrangement has been put in place for bus companies to access free face coverings too.
Cllr Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, capital and inward investment, said: “Whilst some restrictions have eased, we are still living with Coronavirus and we need to do what we can to protect others. Wearing a face covering is for the protection and wellbeing of other people, but sometimes it is easy to leave the house without one.
“So I’m really pleased we’re able to support taxi drivers in this way and give them a little added protection whilst they go about their jobs. Plus the coverings have been funded by the Government, so we are able to pass them on completely free-of-charge.”
The town’s four largest taxi companies; Andrews, AC, Radio Cars and 333444 are all taking part in the scheme along with all the independent operators.
Andy Rice from Andrews, said: “So far with our passengers there has been pretty good compliance but this just gives our drivers an extra level of reassurance, knowing we have free masks to give out. Conditions are genuinely relaxing now, people are letting their guard down and this is a good reminder to have the masks available.”
Krishna Ramkhelawon, Director of Public Health, said: “Please be mindful that close contact continues to carry a risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, and people must consider the risk to themselves and others. Some people are more vulnerable to Covid than others. Therefore, continue to exercise caution and where appropriate consider using the hands, face, space, fresh air approach.”