Face coverings mandatory in museums, cinemas and places of worship from 8 August

31 July 2020, 14:44

Mr Johnson has recommended from now and the changed will be enforceable in law from August 8
Mr Johnson has recommended from now and the changed will be enforceable in law from August 8. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Face coverings will be mandatory in museums, cinemas and places of worship from 8 August, Boris Johnson has announced.

The rule will apply to all indoor settings where people are likely to come into contact with people they do not know and it will be enforceable by law.

Mr Johnson announced the measure during his Downing Street press conference on Friday, during which he confirmed that planned lockdown easings in England scheduled for tomorrow will be delayed for another two weeks.

Appearing alongside Professor Chris Whitty, the prime minister explained that there will be a greater police presence to ensure masks are being worn where they are required.

He said: "We will also extend the requirement to wear a face-covering to other indoor settings where you are likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet, such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship.

"We now recommend face coverings are worn in these settings, and this will become enforceable in law from August 8.

Boris Johnson announces delay to lockdown easing

"At this stage, we are not changing the rules on social contact nationally. I don't want to tell people to spend less time with their friends. But unless people follow the rules and behave safely, we may need to go further.

"Two weeks ago, I said we would hope for the best but plan for the worst.

"And of course we continue to hope for the best. The way to get there and to achieve that optimum outcome is if we all follow the rules, wash our hands, cover our faces, keep our distance - and get a test if we have symptoms, so that NHS Test and Trace can keep the virus under control.

"This is how we will avoid a return to full national lockdown.

"We've made huge progress together.

"I know we are going succeed and I know we are going to beat this - if each and every one of us plays our part."

Mohammed Shafiq from the Ramadhan Foundation reacting to the timing of the new measures and impact on Eid

Also, the Government has now scrapped planned lockdown changes from tomorrow with just hours to spare.

Casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining beauty parlours will remain shut on 1 August, nationwide.

It comes as Matt Hancock imposed a lockdown on Greater Manchester, parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire on the eve of Eid - infuriating parts of the Muslim community.

Muslim leaders blasted the decision with the Muslim Council blasting the "shockingly short notice" and others calling it an "abuse of power".

Mohammed Shafiq from the Ramadhan Foundation said: "Already by the time the Government announced that on Twitter, families had already travelled to their loved ones' homes and people have already started their Eid preparations.

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"To make that decision on social media, with no regard for British Muslims is an appalling abuse of its power and shows how disconnected they are from wider society. I condemn the announcement and I hope they have learned a big lesson from this."

The Government has claimed the measures are to prevent a so-called "second wave" from hitting the UK.

Matt Hancock even claimed there was a "second wave in Europe", saying: "These measures are very much being taken to prevent a second wave - we can see that second wave in Europe."

However, he was later contradicted by Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty who said: "I don't think it's helpful to think of this as a second wave that's somehow travelling around the world."

Despite some increased coronavirus cases, the death rate across the UK and the rest of Europe continues to decline.