Government to rule on face masks in shops

Government to rule on face masks in shops

Government to rule on face masks in shops

Boris Johnson has said people in England “should be wearing” face coverings inside shops to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The prime minister said the Government would decide in the next few days if “tools of enforcement” were needed.

The comments follow cabinet minister Michael Gove telling the BBC on Sunday that coverings should not become mandatory in shops in England.

Labour has demanded “urgent clarity” from the government on the issue.

And the boss of Waterstones bookstores, James Daunt, said it “would not be right” to ask shop workers to “police” any new policy.

Masks and other face coverings are worn to help prevent wearers spreading coronavirus, rather than catching it.

Currently, they are compulsory on public transport in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland – with the Welsh government set to enforce the same measure from 27 July.

In Scotland, coverings are also mandatory in shops, but not elsewhere in the UK – and critics have complained that the situation in England needs to be made easier for the public to understand.

The World Health Organisation states masks and homemade cloth face coverings should be worn in public where social distancing is not possible to reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets.

It changed its advice last month, having previously argued there was not enough scientific evidence to say that healthy people should use them.

Visiting ambulance staff in central London, Mr Johnson, whose government controls health policy in England but not the rest of the UK, said: “I think people should be wearing [face coverings] in shops.

“And, in terms of how we do that whether we make it mandatory or not, we’ll be looking at the guidance – we’ll be seeing a little bit more in the next few days.”

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