Boris Johnson plans to make face masks mandatory in shops from next week

Face masks are due to become a mandatory feature of visiting your local shop, as a government announcement is expected later this week outlining the new rules.

The Mirror reports that the new rules on face masks will not only apply to shops, but other ‘confined spaces’.

In a bid to prevent the further spread of coronavirus, Boris Johnson is preparing to tell the Commons that mandatory-masking is needed if we are to swiftly return to “more normal” living – as ministers continue to encourage people to return to work if they are able to.

But Mr Johnson has been on the receiving end of criticism for supposedly confusing people about what they need to do when leaving their house.

Face coverings on public transport became mandatory in England on June 15, but many people immediately took to social media to question why the same was not enforced in shops.

Shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said: “People just want to do the right thing and are worried about the infection rate.

“Throughout this pandemic ministers have been slow and behind the curve.

“Many people are questioning why ministers still haven’t made a decision on face masks.

“And then we have the Prime Minister publicly dropping hints and sowing more confusion.

“People want and deserve clarity about how this will work and we will be demanding that in the Commons.”

A woman wears a face mask as she uses a bus during the coronavirus lockdown
A woman wears a face mask as she uses a bus during the coronavirus lockdown
(Image: 2020 Getty Images)

Former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, shared a similar opinion and said that with public health advice “you just need simplicity”.

Johnson now has only days to push the new guidance through parliament, guidance which will require a change to emergency legislation, before the long summer recess next week.

The move follows the Mr Johnson’s first appearance wearing a mask in public on Friday, after criticisms that he and ministers were not wearing masks when in close contact with others.

Scientists have advised Number 10 that wearing face coverings should quickly become a social norm and one adviser said that, when this legislation is passed, those without masks will be regarded as ‘anti-social’.

They also said that wearing one should become as commonplace as wearing a seatbelt in a car.

And Mr Johnson told questioners during a virtual Q&A session that “stricter” new rules would be needed to assist the cultural adjustment to masks in Britain.

“It’s very interesting, because in places like China and the Far East, they don’t actually have mandatory face coverings. It’s just part of the way they do things”, Mr Johnson said.

He added: “Clearly we don’t have that culture here and we have to think about how we make it happen and how we make it work.”

The green light will be given this week, with some practical details – such as the definition of a ‘confined space’ – to follow in the following days.


Yorkshire Live – Health