BRITAIN’S mask advice was in chaos today after the Justice Secretary said they SHOULD be made mandatory in shops – hours after Michael Gove said they wouldn’t.
Robert Buckland said “I think mandatory perhaps” people should be made to cover up when they go into an enclosed space like a shop.
He said this morning: “If it becomes necessary to nudge people further by taking further action then of course we will consider that.
“We have done it on pub transport where people have to be together with others, perhaps for hours at a time.
“We follow the evidence and take considered decisions. I think the matter is under careful and daily review.”
At the moment it’s only mandatory to wear a mask on public transport – like trains, planes, buses or trams.
Only a handful of £100 fines have been dished out to people for not wearing them.
But the public are encouraged to cover up when you go into shops and other smaller spaces where you could be closer to people.
Studies have shown it has a significant effect on stopping people who are infected from infecting others and spreading the virus – sometimes without symptoms.
Scotland has made it mandatory for people to wear them in shops, but England has not yet followed suit.
The Government’s position has flip-flopped on masks repeatedly, and even more so in the last week.
The PM said on Friday he was looking at tightening up the rules to make sure that more people wear them – a hint that making the mandatory could become the norm soon.
“We need to be stricter in insisting people wear face coverings in confined places when meeting people they don’t normally meet.
“So that’s why it’s mandatory already on public transport, and we’re looking at ways of making sure that people really do observe when you do have face coverings in shops for instance where … there is a risk of transmission.”
But then Mr Gove told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday: “I don’t think mandatory, no, but I would encourage people to wear face masks where they are inside and mixing with others, and the ventilation isn’t as good.”
The PM was spotted wearing a bright blue face mask for the first time last Friday evening.
He visited a shop in his Uxbridge constituency – leading to speculation that the change on masks would be coming soon.
And today he was snapped meeting emergency workers to highlight a new law.
Sick criminals who assault a cop or paramedic face twice as long behind bars under new government plans.
Ministers warned “vile thugs” will be hit “by the full force of the law” if they attack hero police and NHS staff.