Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya says buses should not allow anyone without a mask to get into a bus because social distancing is difficult in public transport.

And Kafwaya says he has encouraged intercity bus companies to provide free masks to their clients because unlike their intracity colleagues, they can afford it.

In an interview, Kafwaya said it would not be a hurtful thing to turn away someone without a mask because it was an important measure for public safety.

“It’s not hurtful [to stop people from boarding the bus] where social distancing is not achieved, but where social distancing is achieved, that’s hurtful. For me, I should see that as an option because the President was gracious enough, he gave an option, so where somebody has achieved social distancing, it will be hurtful to say they must [be chased] but where social distancing has not been achieved, it’s okay[for them to be without masks],” Kafwaya said.

“So we must make sure that one of the two is achieved, social distancing if it can’t be achieved or on account of maybe many people wanting to access the service, then passengers must come on board with their own masks so that where you have that situation, people protect themselves from others and protect each other from them. That’s the spirit in which I interpret the option that His Excellency the President gave particularly when it comes to public transport, it may imply other things elsewhere and even in the transport sector there might be more interpretations but that’s how I interpret it.”

And Kafwaya encouraged intercity busses to provide free masks to their clients.

“So the President gave an option for wearing masks in cases where social distancing cannot be adhered to. So from where I stand, it’s very important that either of the two is achieved in all circumstances. Firstly, social distancing should be promoted on our local buses, the Intercity ones, I just appealed to the proprietors to ensure that people are given masks and even passengers because I think they can afford under the circumstances because as things are, everybody is sacrificing but of course the intracity ones, that’s where it can be a bit difficult because if a mask is K5 and you are charging a passenger K12, so it’s difficult to see how you can take out a K5 from that to buy a mask for a passenger,” said Kafwaya.