The Oldham Times spoke to people in the town centre about their thoughts about face masks now being optional and the planned introduction of vaccine passports as restrictions are eased.

Ryan Sandeford from Mossley works in Oldham in the care sector and said he believed wearing a mask 'really depends on the situation'.

He added: “I work in the care sector, I am a little worried.

“The death rate is going up. It is a bad situation."

The 25-year-old went on: “I will still wear a mask on public transport and indoors.

“I think it should definitely be needed on public transport and in shops.”

Graham Worswick, who lives in Chadderton, said he enjoyed the easing of restrictions as it meant he could get out and see his family.

He said: “I have got grandchildren, being able to see them again and my son and my daughter is good.

The 61-year-old who was a taxi driver but is currently out of work added: “People need to make up their own minds about masks.

“I do not know how a passport would work, I suppose it could be a good idea.

“I feel sorry for the younger generation coming through all this, like it is not going to be the same again as it was pre covid.”

John Kershaw, Royton, 78, retired, siad he was confused by differing advice between scientists and the Government on face masks, saying: “The government is saying one thing, scientists are saying another and they are both talking to each other.

“I do not know whether you should have to wear a mask or not.

“It is just mixed up."

On vaccine passports he added: “Until they every everybody vaccinated it is not fair introducing something like that, a vaccine passport.”

Linda Jackson who lives in Oldham town centre said she had become 'comfortably numb' to the pandemic despite believing optional face masks was 'definitely not' a good idea.

The 56-year-old, who has had both vaccine doses, added: “For the passports you should be able to prove you have had both jabs.”

Abdul Hafeez, from Glodwick, said he thought the easing of measures was a good thing.

The 67-year-old added he was taking safety steps over Covid though, explaining: “I will carry on wearing a mask, hand sanitiser and maintaining a two metre distance.

“I will follow the guidelines, coronavirus is not finished yet.

“For Eid I went to the mosque, I did not hug people, I came in prayed and then went, everyone was doing the same.”

While many were cautiously happy about an easing of restrictions, Michael Smith, 57, from Oldham, was in favour of much tougher measures.

He said: “The restrictions are not strict enough. There should be a penalty for not wearing a mask.

“There is no excuse for that, absolutely no excuse. There should be a full lockdown for at least another year.

“If one person gets it they back it onto one, two, four, six, eight, you are never going to ever get rid of it.”