Un-masked singer: New rules to ensure shoppers wear face masks after 'ludicrous' loophole

9 December 2021, 16:37 | Updated: 9 December 2021, 20:41

The Un-masked singer: 'Ludicrous' Plan B loophole means singing shoppers won't need face masks
A loophole in the 'Plan B' covid restrictions has been branded "ludicrous". Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

New rules have been introduced to close a "ludicrous" loophole in the Government's 'Plan B' measures, that meant shoppers would be exempt from wearing a face covering if they walked around singing.

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Under new 'Plan B' measures, coming into force on Friday, it will be compulsory for people to wear a face covering in indoor settings including cinemas, theatres and shops.

But in a "ludicrous" loophole to the law, shoppers were told they would not be required to wear a mask if they walked around singing.

Now Downing Street has changed the advice, saying it would be "hard to justify" people having a "reasonable excuse" to remove their masks to sing while getting groceries.

The regulations, published this evening, now state that someone may remove a face covering if it is "reasonably necessary" to sing, adding that "the occasions when it is reasonably necessary for P (a person) to sing include singing as part of a choir, or during a service or rehearsal, or for performance".

The exception to the rule was implemented to allow those attending a place of worship to remove their masks when singing carols or hymns, but they would be required to wear a mask during the service.

But if followed to the letter of the law, like a government spokesperson previously said it would be, then it would allow members of the public to not wear a mask in settings when it is required.

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The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We were absolutely clear there is a reasonable excuse required for someone who is seeking to do that.

"Whilst it wouldn't be for me to say, I think it would be hard to justify. These rules are set to be balanced and proportionate, we've seen how the public are responsible ... and we're confident they will continue to be so.

"It might be for the police to decide what is appropriate, as has been the case throughout the pandemic."

He continued: "I would urge, as the public has been throughout, to be responsible and sensible, and that is what we have seen.

"It's about striking the right balance. We recognise that whenever you're deciding which measures or restrictions to introduce, you do need to draw appropriate balance."

The mask singing loophole is not the only new measure to perplex members of the public.

Under 'Plan B' measures people are being told to work from home "if they can" from next week, but Mr Johnson said it was still possible for Christmas parties to go ahead.

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And the guidance would not stop colleagues gathering at a pub to do their jobs.

Whilst face coverings are required in shops and public transport they are not required in gyms, bars or restaurants.

Officials confirmed the focus on the rules was to reduce the transmission risk from the commute and within the workplace.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Obviously, we have, sadly, been in this position before and employers and employee, by and large, have demonstrated that they're able to work together and come up with an agreement recognising both business need and also the needs of individuals and personal life circumstances."