People in England will be ‘expected’ to wear a face covering in some settings after 19 July, the government’s vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi has said.
Legal rules requiring the wearing of face coverings are expected to be dropped, along with social distancing and most other coronavirus-related rules on 19 July.
However, speaking to Sky News on Sunday, the Government’s minister for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout said that the Prime Minister will tell the public to continue wearing face coverings in crowded places. New advice from the Government could see people advised to wear face coverings in settings such as hospitals and on public transport – though legal powers to enforce this are set to cease.
It has also been suggested that some transport operators, retailers and event venues may choose to implement their own policies on the wearing of face coverings.
This week, some scientists, political leaders and members of the public have raised concerns about the ending of rules requiring the wearing of face coverings. In Wales, the Welsh Government has said that people will still be legally required to wear a face covering in some settings such as public transport, unless they are exempt.
At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer challenged the Prime Minister, asking why ‘common sense’ measures such as wearing a mask on public transport would not be required by law.
The Government has been clear it wants to let the general public make their own decisions about how to stay safe and protect others from COVID-19, though concerns about rising cases rates and potential consequences of easing restrictions could see mitigations that were due to be scrapped being reconsidered.