No 'legal compulsion' to wear face masks once restrictions lift, says minister 5 months ago

No 'legal compulsion' to wear face masks once restrictions lift, says minister

George Eustice said face masks and other Covid restrictions will be dropped once lockdown is fully lifted

The environment secretary, George Eustice, has said that there will be no "legal compulsion" to wear a mask following the final phase of lockdown lifting and that he himself will not be wearing one come July 19th.

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'Freedom Day' was ultimately postponed from June 21st to July following growing concerns surrounding the Delta variant, however, the vaccine rollout and stemming of cases means that plans to end lockdown fully are still scheduled for the 19th, with Eustice stating that the government wants "all of the legal requirements [...] to be taken away completely".

Eustice went on to say that "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", reinforcing that "the objective of that final stage is to remove the legal requirement to do these things."

He added that he himself won't be wearing face masks once it is deemed safe to live without them; he said "I think a lot of people will want to shed those masks" and that, like most, "I want to get back to normal".

Though he did reassure that "while it's contributing to controlling the pandemic, yes I will wear my mask like everybody else and do my bit", it seems that face coverings will become a thing of personal or private discretion following the 19th of July - should there not be any further updates regarding coronavirus, of course.

Public Health England's Dr Susan Hopkins said there will be more emphasis on personal risk and responsibility once restrictions are lifted:

"I think we will all need to make decisions for ourselves, particularly on wearing masks, using better ventilation, hand hygiene.

So we may find that some people, not all, will change their behaviours, and particularly those that are more concerned about their health or the health of people they live with, it will be for governments to decide what rules and regulations will need to be in place and what legislation will need to continue after 19 July."

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