The U.K. government decided Monday it will require people to wear face coverings in England’s shops, joining a long list of countries that have made masks mandatory under some circumstances in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
After weeks of prevarication and days of confused messaging, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government said that masks will be required in stores starting July 24. Johnson’s office said “growing evidence that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus.”
Johnson on Monday said it was important to wear face coverings in confined spaces such as shops, and added that the government would be making an announcement in the coming days on whether they should be mandatory in those settings.
Those who flout the law can be fined up to 100 pounds ($125) by the police under public health laws.
Many European nations, including Germany, Spain, Italy and Greece, already require masks to be worn in enclosed spaces, but Britain had only made masks obligatory on public transit.
Johnson’s government until now recommended – but did not require – mask-wearing in stores. The prime minister, who in the spring spent a week in the hospital being treated for COVID-19, was not seen in public in a mask until Friday, when he suggested that the government was considering “stricter” rules for mask use.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove suggested Sunday that no government order was required, saying he trusted people to use “common sense.”
The opposition Labour Party questioned Monday why the new mask measure would not come into force for 11 days. Labour health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said the government “has been slow and muddled again over face coverings.”
The new requirement only applies in England. Scotland already made masks mandatory in stores.
Scientific opinion has been divided on the value of face coverings, but a growing body of evidence suggests it brings some benefit in preventing the spread of the virus.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2TwO8Gm
QUICKTAKE ON SOCIAL:
Follow QuickTake on Twitter: twitter.com/quicktake
Like QuickTake on Facebook: facebook.com/quicktake
Follow QuickTake on Instagram: instagram.com/quicktake
Subscribe to our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FJ0oQZ
Email us at email@example.com
QuickTake by Bloomberg is a global news network delivering up-to-the-minute analysis on the biggest news, trends and ideas for a new generation of leaders.
In This Story: Covid-19
Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.
Symptoms of coronavirus
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
- a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
- shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)
Latest News about Covid-19
Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.