PM: Masks should be worn in shops
BORIS JOHNSON has urged the public to wear face coverings in shops, and said an announcement on whether their use will be compulsory in England will be made in the coming days.
The Prime Minister said that ministers are considering what “tools of enforcement” could be employed as he described the evidence to support their use to slow the spread of coronavirus as “growing”.
Downing Street said yesterday that a formal review was under way after the Government faced calls for clarity on the subject.
But Labour called on the Government to address the “confusion” around the use of non-surgical masks “without delay”.
Stricter measures for shoppers in England could bring the nation into line with Scotland, where First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made their use compulsory in shops as of Friday.
The PM, wearing a covering during a visit to the London Ambulance Service, said they “have a great deal of value in confined spaces” where people are coming into contact with those they do not normally meet.
He said: “Yes face coverings, I think people should be wearing in shops and in terms of how we do that, whether we will be making that mandatory or not we will be looking at the guidance, we will be saying a little bit more in the next few days.
“We will be looking in the next few days about exactly how, with what tools of enforcement, we think we want to make progress. As the virus comes down in incidence and we have more and more success, I think face coverings are a kind of extra insurance we can all use to stop it coming back and stop it getting out of control again.”
After the PM’S interview, Labour wrote to Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for him to urgently address the issue amid mixed messages from the Westminster Government.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove had said on Sunday it was “best to trust people’s common sense” rather than force them to adopt coverings despite the PM earlier saying he would support “stricter” measures.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth wrote: “Conflicting advice and conflicting statements from the Government only hinder our fight against the virus. Clear communication is vital in combating the spread of Covid-19.
“For the public to know they are doing the right thing in shops, restaurants and other crowded places, I am asking you urgently set out the position on face coverings.”
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland also suggested he could support the use of face coverings being made compulsory as an expert advising the Government as part of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) acknowledged the evidence has “shifted”.
Boris Johnson wore a face mask in public yesterday