Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle asks MPs to wear face masks
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Wearing a face mask or face covering has become second nature during the pandemic, and since June 2020, they’ve been compulsory for anyone over the age of 11, unless exempt for medical reasons. They’re required to be worn in shops, places of worship and on public transport. While the lockdown has seemed endless to the majority of people, there’s now light at the end of the tunnel as the Government published its roadmap for easing lockdown measures on Monday, much to the delight of many.
When can we stop wearing face masks?
As it stands, face masks and coverings are likely to be around for some time to come.
The Government will be reviewing the use of masks before the introduction of step four of their roadmap.
Step four is the final stage before lockdown is expected to be fully over, when all restrictions should be lifted in the UK.
But that’s still some time away, and if masks are to be a thing of the past, it definitely won’t happen before June 21 at the earliest.
The Government will review all social distancing measures in place, including the mandatory face masks restriction and one metre rule as it aims to “return to as near as normal as quickly as possible”.
In the roadmap, the Government states: “The results of the review will help inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which rules on one metre plus, face masks and other measures may be lifted.
“The review will also inform guidance on working from home – people should continue to work from home where they can until this review is complete.”
Mr Johnson confirmed to MPs in the House of Commons that his last phase wouldn’t start before mid-June, at which point the Government hopes to “remove all legal limits on social contact”.
The Prime Minister said: “We will aim to remove [all legal limits] on weddings and other life events.
“We will reopen everything up to and including nightclubs and enable large events such as theatre performances above the limits of step three – potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection.”
Mr Johnson continued: “Our journey back towards normality will be subject to resolving a number of key questions and to do this we will conduct four reviews.
“One will assess how long we need to maintain social distancing and face masks.
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“This will also inform guidance on working from home which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete.”
However, a SAGE sub-group, the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) has warned “maintaining baseline measures” will still be required even when life does get back to normality.
COVID-19 is likely to always be around from this point forward, so some scientists have suggested implementing face masks for good to help keep transmission and hospital admission low.
The Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, has also urged people to take extra care and suggests masks could be the key to cope with next winter.
Sir Patrick said: “It’s more likely to be that we wear masks in certain places, that we are continuing with hand washing, making sure that we are sensible about the way in which we interact with people in indoor environments.
“I would be very surprised if we go in year-on-year with needing to do more things than that.
“But this coming winter, I think we need to wait and see how far we get on with the current reduction in numbers that needs to occur.”
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