/Sadiq Khan calls for face masks to be mandatory in shops

Sadiq Khan calls for face masks to be mandatory in shops

Sadiq Khan calls for face masks to be compulsory on public transport
Currently it is optional to wear a mask in shops and other public spaces (Picture: PA/Getty)

The mayor of London has called for face coverings to become mandatory in shops and confined spaces, urging the government to ‘act now’ to protect the public.

Currently, it is optional to wear a mask while out shopping but it is recommended to wear one ‘in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.’

Sadiq Khan has pressed for this to become a compulsory rule ‘urgently’ in a bid to avoid a second peak, as hundreds flocked to the high street on Monday after non-essential stores opened their doors for the first time in three months. The mayor told the government ‘there is no room for complacency when lives are at risk’.

It comes after Mr Khan publicly pushed for face masks to be mandatory on public transport – a regulation which came into force on Monday. Facial coverings must also be worn inside hospitals and GP surgeries.

Sadiq Khan calls for face coverings to be mandatory in shops and confined public spaces
The mayor accused the government of ignoring advice suggesting masks can slow the spread of the virus (Picture: Twitter/@mayoroflondon)

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The mayor has now taken his plea one step further and wants the rule implemented across shops and confined spaces, accusing the government of ignoring advice by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and scientists on the benefits of wearing masks in public.

Mr Khan tweeted on Thursday morning: ‘With lockdown easing, it is our responsibility is to do all we can to prevent a second wave of #COVID19. There’s no room for complacency when lives are at risk.  

‘That’s why I’m calling on the Govt to make face coverings mandatory in all shops and confined public spaces.

‘Ignoring the @WHO guidance and the example set by other European cities on face coverings risks making us an international outlier.

‘As our High Streets reopen, we have a clear opportunity to implement this rule to prevent & control the spread of #COVID19. The Govt must act now.’

A man wearing PPE shops at Swordfish Records in Birmingham, as further coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in England. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 17, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Jacob King/PA Wire
Shoppers do not have to wear them while browsing stores but they do once they get on public transport (Picture: PA)

Sadiq Khan calls for face coverings to be mandatory in shops and confined public spaces
Mr Khan insisted the government must implement the rule ‘urgently’ (Picture: Twitter/@mayoroflondon)

The mayor attached a copy of his letter to the tweet in which he says there is ‘an increasing body of evidence that the use of non-medical face covering by the public can help reduce the spread of coronavirus’.

‘As we understand more about asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission it is vital that we use all available tools, from the NHS Test and Trace service to face coverings, to minimise the spread of the virus and, crucially, prevent a second wave,’ he wrote.

Mr Khan also pointed out that the WHO had updated its guidance to recommend the use of face coverings in public spaces, such as grocery stores, while citing other European countries that the UK has followed, who have made this compulsory as they eased lockdown measures.

‘The reopening of non-essential retail in England this week, and plans for the further opening of the leisure and hospitality sectors, provide a clear opportunity to take prompt action and embed the behaviours that will prevent and control the virus,’ Mr Khan continued.

His calls come after the transport secretary warned last week that people who do not wear face coverings on public transport could be fined.

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Grant Shapps confirmed during the No 10 press briefing on Friday that penalties could be given to people who do not cover their faces when on buses, trains, trams and planes.

He said transport operators will also have the power to refuse entry to those who refuse to wear one.

On Monday, pictures emerged of hundreds of shoppers queuing up to get into stores for the first time in months, while a Primark employee said the first day back at work was ‘hell’ with people waiting outside since 3am.

Businesses have had to ensure they are ‘Covid-secure’ according to Government guidelines, and many have been keen to stress the extra precautions they are taking, from deep cleaning stores to putting items that have been tried on or returned in quarantine.

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