Confusion over masks policy after UK minister says they should not be compulsory – BBC News


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Confusion over masks policy after UK minister says they should not be compulsory - BBC News



Two days after Boris Johnson signalled a stricter approach to face coverings in England, one of his most senior ministers has said he believes they should not be made compulsory in shops.

Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, said he trusted people’s common sense and that it was “good manners” to wear a mask in a shop. Labour has called for clarity.

Currently masks are mandatory on public transport in England. In Scotland they must also be worn in shops. In Wales, wearing a face covering is recommended but not compulsory, wherever social distancing is difficult.

Mishal Husain presents BBC News at Ten reporting from Business Correspondent Katy Austin and Medical Correspondent Fergus Walsh.

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22 Comments

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  1. Mistake: Coercion. People are feeling coerced into behaviour they are not fully comfortable with. People do not like being coerced. Inferring or demanding that people as an abstract body use 'common sense', is a also a vague, useless term that suggests the onus of responsibility is not with those giving the order.
    Alternative method: Stop treating people like an abstract mass, like children, being patronising or condescending. Accept that humans are generally nonplussed by the event of a pandemic and by the actions of those in authority. Permit science and scientists to create a direct communication link with the general populace without intermediary interference, in a thoughtful personal level-headed manner without political gambits.
    Likely outcome: Humans will take the path of least resistance and die in droves until they accept they are not special, nor are they an ongoing concern for the authorities. If you already believe this then why are you paying to breathe?

  2. transcript:

    Mishal Husain: Two days after Boris Johnson signalled a stricter approach to face coverings in England, one of his most senior ministers has said he believes they should not be made compulsory in shops.
    Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, said he trusted people's common sense and that it was “good manners” to wear a mask in a shop. Labour has called for clarity. With the government also urging people to get back to work if they can, here's our business correspondent, Katie Austin.

    Austin: Face coverings are now a common sight in public places, some shoppers were wearing them in Huddersfield today.

    Random person 1: I think it's safer from all the advice people have given, that it's becoming more airborne…

    Random person 2: Especially in small shops, I think it should be worn yeah.

    Austin: Customers don't have to wear masks in stores, this shop-owner is starting to think they should.

    Asad Hussain: I mean I know people who've been affected by the Coronavirus, I mean personally myself, my family members and friends. If it helps to save lives, then anything.

    Austin: Scotland is currently the only part of the UK where wearing face masks in shops is mandatory, the UK government is considering the same rule for England, on Friday the Prime Minister talked about needing to be stricter about face masks in confined spaces however Senior Cabinet Minister Micheal Gove told the BBC today in his opinion the law wasn't needed.

    Gove: If necessary, where tough measures are required, as we've seen in Leicester obviously with a very different situation, them tough measures will be taken but on the whole my view is that it's always better to trust people's common sense, to give them a sense of what is wise and I think individuals and businesses are responding well to that need.

    Austin: But Labour's Rachel Reeves supports compulsory face coverings in shops and she called for clarity from the government.

    Reeves: I think it would inspire greater confidence, it might encourage more people to go out and spend money if they see people wearing more face masks in shops.

    Austin: Boosting the damaged economy is now a big priority for the government, it's trying to encourage more people to get back to work, to start spending it again but it faces a difficult balance, the virus hasn't gone away and that's why we're hearing about new possible measures which could mitigate the risk of it spreading as activity ramps up and make people more confident. The Trade Body for Independent Shops isn't convinced mandatory face masks alone will boost weak consumer confidence.

    Andrew Goodacre, The British Independent Retailers Association: There's no evidence that wearing masks suddenly will increase footfall on shops and I think that's the concern really without any evidence, there's a fear it could become a barrier to shopping instead of an enhancement.

    Austin: Businesses want to avoid any further lockdown in the run-up to Christmas so welcome measures designed to protect public health but retailers question how tougher rules on face coverings in England would be enforced if the government does decide to introduce them.

    Mishal Hussain: Well today the deaths of another twenty-one people who tested positive for COVID-19 were announced taking the UK total to forty-four-thousand-eight-hundred-and-nineteen. The approach to face coverings has shifted considerably since the early days of the pandemic, they are now compulsory on public transport in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, they're also mandatory in Scottish shops as we were just hearing but only recommended in Wales where social distancing is difficult. Here's out medical correspondent Fergus Walsh.

    Walsh: At the height of the epidemic here in April, the official view was that face coverings were of little benefit and might encourage a false sense of security and make people less likely to wash their hands or socially distance and could lead to a shortage of surgical masks for healthcare workers, but since then the evidence has shifted and although not definitive more studies suggest that they can limit the spread of the virus and perhaps help prevent asymptomatic transmission where people infected unwittingly pass on the virus. There's also emerging evidence that the virus can remain airborne in tiny particles suspended in the air. The percentage of people who say they wear a face mask in public has risen substantially in the UK and now stands at thirty-six percent but that's well behind other hard-hit European countries like Italy and Spain where it's over eighty percent and in France seventy-eight percent but it's above Australia where it's just twenty percent. Wearing a face covering in public is largely an altruistic measure, Micheal Gove called it "basic good manners", one of the biggest sceptics on face masks, President Trump, has been photographed in public wearing one for the first time and on Friday, Boris Johnson was pictured in his constituency wearing a face mask. They say "a picture paints a thousand words" but perhaps the image of world leaders wearing a face mask will encourage more of us to put on one of these when we're out in public.

  3. Folks they ARE going to make wearing masks compulsory in all shops.It won’t stop there….
    We are going to lose more and more of our freedoms over the coming weeks.
    If you care at all about the future then don’t comply with this fascism.
    WAKE UP.

  4. They want you all to catch it quicker basically… to spread quicker and build herd immunity. They know exactly what the risks are their just trying to speed the process up as quick as possible under the guise of “people can use their common sense”.

  5. Have we not given up enough during the last five months? And now we have to be muzzled before entering shops, all this will do is make shopping even more of an unpleasant experience than it already is and encourage people to shop online more and more. How exactly is that going to get people back into the shops and save the High Street?

  6. Cops don't wear MASKS and neither do the bloody lying POLITICIANS who like to be called elites! All of this BS and simply to CRASH the so called ECONOMY! I don't know a soul who has died from C/V which is more like the FLU than this farce! No wonder Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Zuckerberg made a killing in billions in profits since this started. Tell a lie often enough and keep repeating it and the people will come to believe it and accept it has the truth! Joseph Goebbells Nazi propaganda minister. WE ARE NOT SHEEP! These so called leaders enrich themselves off the backs of the people whilst they FLOUT every law they make…

  7. A box of 50 mask is 20£ and for a family of 3,it only lasts a few days maybe a week.
    Cut my concil tax and bbc license and i wil have money to buy them

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