Sadiq Khan urges public to keep wearing face masks after 'Freedom Day'

19 July 2021, 15:38 | Updated: 19 July 2021, 20:35

The Mayor of London has asked people to continue wearing masks in crowded spaces.
The Mayor of London has asked people to continue wearing masks in crowded spaces. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has urged the public to continue wearing face coverings in crowded places after so-called 'Freedom Day'.

It comes after the unlocking of England on Monday meant there was no longer any legal obligation to wear masks.

However, the mayor has previously said face coverings would remain compulsory on public transport around the city.

He commended those who continued to follow the rules, estimating that over 90 per cent of travellers were still wearing masks on his commute into work.

"The vast majority of people were wearing masks," he said.

"If I could guess, I would say north of 90 per cent and what I think that shows is that people are carrying on their great habits from the last few weeks.

Read more: July 19 'Freedom Day': Everything you need to know - explained

Read more: Masks to remain compulsory on public transport in London after Sadiq Khan intervention

"I'm disappointed that it is no longer national legislation.

"The good news is that it appears that those visiting London are doing the right thing."

Mr Khan went on to address the importance of moving forward with caution.

"I think we should recognise this virus is still here," he said.

"On an average day there are 4,000 new cases.

"Whenever you are indoors and cannot keep your social distancing, err on the side of caution and put your face mask on.

"I think when you leave your home now, just like you think about having your keys, your wallet, your purse, carry a face mask as well."

Read more: Prince Charles and Camilla visit Exeter Cathedral without face masks

This comes after the government said it "expects and recommends" that people wear masks in crowded areas.

However, from 19 July, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the general public, with Boris Johnson saying people need to make "informed decisions about how to manage the virus" themselves.