The decision to make mask wearing in shops compulsory dominates the front pages

The decision to make mask wearing in shops compulsory dominates the front pages

But is this another pandemic measure that should have been brought in earlier?

So the decision has last been made that shoppers in England should be forced by law to wear masks in shops but not till July 24th. Like other elements in Britain’s attempt to to contain the pandemic the big political issue has been on the timing. Should this have been brought in earlier?

The Independent notes:

As early as 21 April, the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) concluded that “on balance, there is enough evidence to support recommendation of community use of cloth face masks, for short periods in enclosed spaces, where social distancing is not possible”. The scientists stressed that non-medical coverings were of little use to protect the wearer from infection, but could help avoid an asymptomatic Covid-19 sufferer from passing on the disease to others. Mr Johnson has faced increasing criticism for shying away from a legal requirement to use them in shops. The Independent Sage group of scientists said that “face masks should be made mandatory in indoors spaces wherever possible”.

On the front pages it is the most tabloid of the tabloids, the Daily Star, that appears to be chiming with the public mood. Life has been curtailed in some form by Covid for a third of a year and covering most of your face in shops appears to be something that is easy and cheap for people to do.

I live in Bedford which has been one of the places worst hit and it has been noticeable how mask wearing in the most vulnerable parts of the town has increased sharply in the past fortnight.

This latest measure applies to just in shops and I wonder whether it will spill over into most aspects of life outside the home. It is a bit of a faff getting masks on and off so if you are going shopping you’ll probably wear it all the time.

It should be noted that this measure relates to just England though other parts of the UK have brought this in earlier. The public have been ready as this from YouGov suggests.

Mike Smithson

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