Sunday 12 July 2020 9:04 AM UTC
LONDON July 12: Wearing face masks and coverings in shops and ‘confined spaces’ will become compulsory, Boris Johnson is expected to announce next week. The Prime Minister is preparing to tell the Commons the move is necessary to encourage a swifter shift towards ‘more normal’ living.
The new rules on masks will apply to shops as well as other ‘confined spaces’, with the aim of preventing a surge in the spread of COVID-19 as people return to work, the Mirror reports.
The coverings are currently mandatory on public transport in England and are recommended to be used in places where people are not able to maintain social distancing of one-metre plus.
The prime minister is set to relax restrictions on public transport in order to convince the public to work in offices again, according to reports.The PM issued a ‘go back to work if you can’ rallying cry on Friday in a bid to boost the UK economy following the coronavirus crisis. Current UK lockdown regulations state that the public should consider other forms of transport before using means such as trains, buses and trams.
But, according to the Sunday Telegraph, ministers are looking to change this policy and encourage the use of public transport, with the Department of Transport commencing discussions with transport operators about how commuters can travel safely.
Last week the prime minister said: “As we get the numbers down in the way that we have and we really stamp out outbreaks in the way that we are, I do think we need to be stricter in insisting people wear face coverings in confined spaces where they are meeting people they don’t normally meet.
“We are looking at ways of making sure that people really do have face coverings in shops, for instance, where there is a risk of transmission.”
He 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.
Scientists have advised the government that wearing face coverings should quickly become a social norm.
Currently, face-coverings are only compulsory on public transport or when attending a hospital as a visitor or outpatient in England.
A face covering has been defined as any covering of the mouth and nose that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe.
Religious face-coverings that cover the mouth and the nose also count as face coverings for these purposes.
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