Stamford woman urges people to continue wearing face masks in public places to help protect vulnerable members of society
Ditching face masks on Freedom Day has come at a high price for those most at risk from Covid-19.
People with underlying health conditions are concerned about their safety since most restrictions were scrapped on Monday.
Mother-of-two Jane Edwards is urging people to continue wearing face coverings where possible to protect the wider community.
She suffers from vasculitis, a disorder which affects the blood vessels, and as a result did not develop antibodies after her first vaccine. This puts her at greater risk of serious illness if she contracts Covid-19.
Jane, from Stamford, said: "Masks, vaccines and social distancing are not about protecting yourself; they are about population protection.
"Wearing a mask is not a hefty price to pay to save lives. None of us like them, but we have all faced worse hardships with a lot less moaning."
Jane has been shielding for most of the pandemic, but recently returned to her office job and has started to visit restaurants with good safety measures.
Now the restrictions on face masks and social distancing have been removed, she feels less confident to visit public places.
Jane, 46, said: "Freedom Day means those things that protected me are no longer law and will not be consistently used.
"I have seen many social media conversations about how masks infringe the rights of people, yet without them, me and millions of people who are immune-suppressed will now be at high risk from Covid-19."
Jane is waiting to find out whether she has developed antibodies following her second vaccination.
Until then, she must weigh up the risks of leaving home and going to public places.
"I cannot face going back into complete shielding. Not leaving the house for months was very hard, and I cannot return to that, but I cannot risk going back to normality either," she said.
"I will not fully shield, but I will not be going into public places. I will choose which friends to meet very carefully, I will meet up outside, wear my mask, and social distance.
"This isn't a choice, it is a necessity."
Although there is now no legal obligation to wear a face covering in public places, many businesses are requesting that customers continue to do so.
Supermarket chains Morrisons, Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose are all encouraging their shoppers to wear masks.
Staff at The London Inn in Stamford will continue to wear them and customers are encouraged to do so when moving around the building.
The upstairs bar and restaurant area will be reserved as a space where masks must be worn when walking about.
Orbis Stamford has also confirmed that staff will continue to wear face coverings.
Staff at Energy clothes shop in Stamford will have masks available if the shop becomes busy.
In a Facebook post they said: "It's a massive worry as many independent businesses are being forced to shut. We couldn't afford to."
Although it scrapped the legal restrictions, the government recommends people wear face masks in crowded public places.