Govt makes face masks mandatory in shops


Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that masks "should be worn" in shops, but cabinet minister Michael Gove said Sunday that face coverings shouldn't be mandatory, leading to calls from the opposition for "urgent clarity" on the issue, the BBC reports.

Those who fail to comply with the rule could face fines of up to £100.

But representatives of the police, who are expected to enforce the ruling with fines of up to £100 reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days, say it will be "impossible" to enforce.

"There is evidence that wearing a mask gives people more confidence to go back to shopping", he also said, as government tries to revive British economy hit by coronavirus crisis, which has already done more 44 500 dead in the country.

Hancock stressed that wearing a face covering complements other accepted strategies aimed at keeping a lid on the pandemic, such as washing hands and abiding by social distancing rules. Wearing face-coverings has been compulsory since mid-June on public transport in England and at National Health Service (NHS) facilities across Britain.

"Shopkeepers need to step up to the plate and take some responsibility", said Ken Marsh, of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers.

But there are already concerns from the police who have called it "nigh on enforceable". Picture: Getty Do children have to wear face masks in shops?

In England, a face covering is allowed to be a mask, or a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.

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But she also warned: "Wearing a face covering will not prevent you from catching the virus, but it could prevent you from unknowingly spreading it to other people".

The announcement comes on the same day that a major survey by the BMA revealed thousands of doctors overwhelmingly support the move to require mandatory face coverings for all settings where social distancing is not possible.

The professional trade union of the retail trade welcomed the "clarity" of this obligation, after "contradictory messages" which made "really hard for people to understand what they had to do".

The Telegraph newspaper reported earlier on Wednesday that the government could soon recommend face coverings in all public places including offices and other workplaces.

The public have been asked not to use medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) masks to ensure these remain available for frontline healthcare workers.

Labour's health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth yesterday criticised ministers for "muddle", pointing out that even US President Donald Trump is now wearing a mask.

"There is growing evidence that face coverings can stop the spread of coronavirus and I would urge residents to play their part and wear a face covering when out and about". If you're in the United Kingdom, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while USA users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.