PM: Masks should be worn in shops

Burton Mail - - National -

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

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