WELL, I never thought I’d be defending David Mundell. But in the matter of masks I’m with him (Maskless Mundell out shopping sparks fury, July 1).

Masks on public transport are mandatory; masks in shops are recommended. It is up to each of us to do our research, estimate the risk to ourselves and others and decide whether wearing a mask in a particular shop is even relevant.

That is what David Mundell has done, that is what I do, and that is what any thinking person does. It is rare to see anyone wearing a mask out and about in my Borders town; most of us have concluded that they do not make enough difference in day-to-day life.

READ MORE: David Mundell sparks fury after visiting shop without a face mask

If I have to travel on the X95 from Selkirk to Edinburgh I will spend two hours confined in a poorly ventilated space with maybe a dozen other people. Yes, I’ll wear a mask, and possibly would have done

even had it not been mandatory. If I go into the local greengrocer I will spend at most five minutes in a space with one or two other people, with the door permanently open. The situation is completely different.

As has been explained ad nauseam, non-medical-grade masks (even used properly, and they rarely are) offer minimal protection to the wearer; they provide a certain amount of protection to others if that wearer is infected.

READ MORE: First Minister to reveal decision on mandatory face coverings later this week

Physical distancing is far more important. If, as in most shops at present, I am never within two metres’ distance from another person for more than a split second and nobody is coughing, sneezing, shouting or singing, then there is so little risk that it can be dismissed.

I am sorry to see The National descending to making a mountain out of a non-existent molehill simply in order to score a cheap political point.

Max Marnau

MUCH discussion on mainstream radio this morning regarding the use (or rather the non-use) of masks in closed environments, like shops.

Radio commentators became contributors saying that we the general public are not conforming to the good guidance, phone-in contributors saying they would never wear a mask, or others saying the exact opposite, stating they always wear a mask.

So what’s the problem?

The mask is to protect others from you. "But I am OK, I have no symptoms" you may say. You could be infected and "shedding virus" without symptoms from two to seven days after becoming infected. You may be one of the people who do not get symptoms and continue to spread the virus. A super spreader.

Wearing a mask doesn’t completely stop the virus, but reduces the distance it travels in still air.

So "mask up" in shops, and protect others from you.

Alistair Ballantyne
Birkhill, Angus