No “Legal Compulsion” to Wear Face Masks after July 19th, Says Minister

The Telegraph reports this morning that mask-wearing in indoor settings will continue to be advised by the Government even after we leave lockdown (whether that will be on July 19th or later). But there will be no “legal compulsion” to wear a mask once restrictions are lifted, according to Environment Secretary George Eustice, who says he will personally ditch his mask when the rules are changed.

Sky News has the story.

George Eustice said the Government wants “all of the legal requirements to do things to be taken away completely” at step four of its roadmap for lifting Covid measures, which is currently scheduled for July 19th.

“Whether there will still be some people who might choose to wear masks or whether it may be advisory in some settings, that’s a separate matter,” he said.

“But the objective of that final stage is to remove the legal requirement to do these things.”

Asked if he would continue to wear a face covering beyond that point, the minister replied: “I wouldn’t, no. I have to be honest, once I’m told it’s safe not to, I want to get back to normal.

“I think a lot of people will want to shed those masks.

“But while it’s contributing to controlling the pandemic, yes I will wear my mask like everybody else and do my bit.”

Recent polling from Ipsos MORI suggests that, whether we are legally required to wear masks after July 19th or not, a significant proportion of the population will continue to do so. It showed that more than one-fifth of British adults aren’t looking forward to “not wearing a mask in public places”. Continued “advice” on the matter will likely ensure that this figure does not significantly drop.

The Sky News report is worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he will ditch his mask “as soon as possible” once the mandate is ended. The Telegraph reports:

Rishi Sunak has said he will ditch his face mask at the earliest opportunity when it ceases to be a legal requirement. 

Asked if he would stop wearing a face covering if it only becomes advisory after July 19th, the Chancellor told a summit: “Yes, as soon as possible.” …

Mr Sunak also stressed his “strong expectation” that coronavirus restrictions will be lifted in England on July 19th, adding “things are looking good” for getting back to normal. 

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