A councillor has made an emotional plea for people to wear life-saving masks and rejected anti-mask conspiracies.

Epping Forest District councillor, Dave Plummer, called for residents to opt into wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic in a video published on Youtube.

The Green Party councillor said: “There are people who don’t believe in man-made climate change. There are people who don’t wear seatbelts… there are people who believe the earth is flat and there are people who don’t appreciate Tears of a Clown is the greatest pop song ever written.

“A lot of people are wrong about a lot of things, and we’re all wrong about some things, but there’s a new and particularly disturbing addition to the list of things that a lot of people are wrong about: face masks.

“They’re not particularly comfortable to wear, but they are not the instrument of torture that some make them out to be. They don’t affect your oxygen levels… and they help stop the spread of Covid-19.”

Current government guidelines state people must wear a face covering in shops and other indoor places in line.

However, some people are exempt from wearing a face covering:

• Children aged 11 or under

• People with a disability

• People with a learning disability or autism

• People who would experience "severe distress" putting on, wearing or removing a face covering

• People who use lip reading

• People who have a health condition that could be made worse by a face covering, such as breathing problems

The Waltham Abbey South West ward councillor, who also uses the video to level criticism at the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, added: “Wearing face masks is about the simple fact that they reduce the chances of you infecting other people and reduce the chance s of other people affecting you. It’s that simple.

“Please, unless you have a medical reason not to wear a mask, it’s a relatively small inconvenience and it can save lives.”

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