Health Minister will still carry mask even when legal measures lifted

12 July 2021, 08:24

Health Minister Ed Argar was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast
Health Minister Ed Argar was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast. Picture: LBC/PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A Government minister said he would continue to carry his face covering around with him even after legal measures have been lifted.

Asked about the future of face coverings after July 19, Health Minister Edward Argar told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: "I suspect - and I won't pre-empt the Secretary of State when he addresses the House later and he sets out more of what you can expect to see in that guidance - but speaking for myself, I will continue to carry my face mask in my jacket pocket."

Mr Argar's comments come ahead of the Prime Minister's press conference later where it is expected Boris Johnson will announce the lifting of all remaining coronavirus restrictions.

Explained: What time is Boris Johnson's Covid press briefing today? And what will he say?

The PM is expected to say that the country can move to Step 4 of the plan to lift measures, including ending the legal requirement to wear masks.

But, there was confusion over the weekend when Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said new guidance set to be issued today would still say people were expected to wear masks in indoor enclosed spaces, although the legal requirement to do so would be dropped.

Read more: Government will 'move away from legally set obligations' on July 19, Health Minister says

Mr Zahawi told Sky News: "I think it's important that we remain cautious and careful and the guidelines that we'll set out tomorrow will demonstrate that, including guidelines that people are expected to wear masks in indoor enclosed spaces."

Mr Argar explained why he said he would continue to carry a face mask with him even when the legal requirement to do so was lifted.

He told Nick Ferrari: "The sort of circumstances where I would wear it, where I would encourage others to do so, are the sort of things that Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer set out a week or so again.

"If, for example, you are in a crowded train, if you are in a setting like a hospital where the relevant authority requires you to wear it, or where, as common courtesy, if you are in an indoor environment with someone who clearly feels uncomfortable with you not wearing it, it would be common courtesy to put it on then - that's how I would behave."

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Is Boris running a country or a frat house, asks ex-Tory comms chief

'Is Boris running a country or a frat house?': Ex-Tory comms chief slams No10 culture

Steve Barclay tried to explain why Boris Johnson didn’t query how his son’s swing got broken

Partygate: Why didn't the PM ask more questions over his son's broken swing?

Mother of cancer teen 'forced to take GCSEs' in hospital hits out at exam board decision

Mother of cancer teen 'forced to take GCSEs' in hospital hits out at exam board decision

Minister calls for 'restraint' on public sector pay rises as huge train strike looms

Minister calls for 'restraint' on public sector pay rises as crippling train strike looms

'What more do they want?!': Nick Ferrari's fury over rail strikes

'What more do they want?!': Nick Ferrari's fury over rail strikes

'You're at odds with the Home Sec': Nick clashes with police chief over taking the knee

'You're at odds with the Home Sec': Ferrari clashes with top cop over taking the knee

'Dear God!': Nick Ferrari baffled by Platinum Jubilee bunting ban

'Dear God!': Nick Ferrari baffled by Platinum Jubilee bunting ban

'He chooses to serve this country': Minister defends Chancellor after he made Rich List

Rich List Rishi Sunak 'could do anything with his life but he serves his country'

'I don't like Clive!' Nick Ferrari disgusted by work drinks bullying compo

'I don't like Clive!': Nick Ferrari disgusted by work drinks bullying compo

'I started worrying about my job': Caller recounts experience with 'micromanaging' boss

'I started worrying about my job': Caller recounts working with 'micromanaging' boss

Dominic Raab said it would be Sue Gray's "prerogative" to "name and shame" politicians who were issued with fines

'Boris didn't get away with Partygate': Raab says it's up to Sue Gray to name and shame

Kit Malthouse said "we believe the law should be blind"

Minister slaps down police chief who said shoplifters stealing to eat should be spared

Caller hosting Ukrainian refugees admits she regrets it

Caller regrets hosting Ukrainian refugees as it has cost 'hundreds of pounds'

Liz Truss explained plans to alter parts of the Northern Ireland protocol

'We don’t want to scrap NI protocol, just the bits that don’t work': Truss tells LBC

NHS sees bureaucratic 'explosion' as number of senior officials soars by 125%

NHS sees bureaucratic 'explosion' as number of managers soars by 125%

Tony Danker said potentially two million Brits are skipping meals

'Do something to help,' CBI chief tells Sunak as millions of Brits forced to skip meals