Simply Pythonesque

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Snakes are 'not a valid mask' on Manchester public transport

And now for something completely different. A Manchester commuter boarded a bus using his pet snake as a face covering, the docile reptile wound round his neck and mouth.

Fellow passengers thought it was just ‘a funky mask’ until the snake began to unravel and explore the backrest of the seat in front – the slithering animal caught on camera and photos posted on social media.

One fellow passenger believed the man was wearing a ‘funky mask’ until the snake – a python or other constrictor type – began to move. She said the incident was ‘really funny’ and was a bright spot in a grey coronavirus day; saying no one on board ‘batted an eyelid’.

In the UK face coverings are mandatory except for children under the age of 11 or those exempt for health reasons – a spokesman for Transport for Manchester later confirmed a snake was not seen as a valid mask.

However, at least he saw the funny side; adding: “Government guidance clearly states that this need not be a surgical mask and passengers can make their own or wear something suitable, such as a scarf or bandana.

“While there is a small degree of interpretation that can be applied to this, we do not believe it extends to the use of snakeskin…especially when still attached to the snake.”

Read more in this week’s print edition or go to e-paper

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