25 July 2020
As of the 24th July, it is mandatory to wear a face-covering in all UK shops to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
The new rule announced on the 14th July left the nation confused due to the government’s previous stance against face coverings, as well as the law being enforced four months and 45,000 deaths into the pandemic.
Throughout the covid-19 pandemic, there’s been confusion over the necessity of face coverings. In February, Public Health England encouraged the public not to wear a face-covering stating, “Facemasks and other personal protective equipment in the community are only advised for health and social care workers visiting individuals who may be infectious.”
As the pandemic continued and new scientific evidence related to the effectiveness of face coverings came to light, however, the government changed its stance and made masks mandatory on all public transport last month.
This decision came as the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report on 5th June concerning safety regulations. The announcement stated that national governments could encourage the general public to wear face masks or coverings in specific circumstances – such as when social distancing is impossible – as part of a comprehensive public health approach.
Studies published in the Lancet Medical Journal concluded that covering the mouth and nose reduces the odds of Covid-19 transmission to 3%; the same applies to a distancing of at least one metre apart.
McMaster University professor, Holger Schünemann, said in a statement: “Our findings are the first to synthesize all direct information on COVID-19, SARS and MERS, and currently provide the best available evidence on the optimum use of these common and simple interventions to help flatten the curve.”
Many residents question why the use of facemasks is only now being made mandatory.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 is a novel strain of the coronavirus that was only discovered in December, meaning that once the outbreak was already declared a global pandemic, there was very little research into the science of the virus and the ways to decrease its transmission.
Opinions on the new rule for face-masks vary, many are in agreement with the latest regulations in the hopes that they can decrease Covid-19 transmission drastically for people to return to their normal lives. However, others are opposed to the new guidelines, with one twitter using stating: “a large number have been brainwashed into believing the threat is so great we need to wear face masks indoors & out. Conclusion: Rational thinking in the UK is at an all-time low.”
It will be mandatory to wear a face-covering in all shops, supermarkets and takeaways from Friday 24th July, however, pubs and restaurants are exempt from the rule as face coverings are impractical for eating and drinking.
Anyone that doesn’t comply with this regulation risks receiving a fine of up to £100.