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

12 July 2021, 08:06

The Health Minister was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast
The Health Minister was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast. Picture: LBC
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Health minister Edward Argar said guidance on things like mask-wearing"would continue even after so-called "freedom day" on July 19.

Health Minister Edward Argar told LBC Step 4 of the roadmap to unlocking seeks to "remove legal restrictions," but "leave in place guidance."

He said the government would "move away from legally set obligations" but issue "guidance," and "encourage people to be cautious and use the innate common sense of the British people."

Mr Argar told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that he would continue to carry a face mask with him and then use it on a "crowded train" or in a hospital.

Nick pressed the minister, asking if he thought this would mean restaurants and theatres would be able to reopen to full capacity.

"When you see all the legal restrictions removed and a move towards guidance and common sense, with a healthy dose of caution, then businesses will be able to make those judgements."

Mr Argar said once the "legal obligations" are removed then it will be down to businesses to make the decisions.

"It's about giving that responsibility back to businesses and individuals to exercise personal responsibility and make informed choices."

Later on Monday the Prime Minister will host a press conference where he 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.

Downing Street said the unlocking would be based on four tests - the success of the vaccine rollout, evidence that the vaccine is causing a reduction in hospital admissions and deaths, that infection rates do not risk a surge in admissions, and that no new variants of concern throw progress off track.

The PM said: "We are tantalisingly close to the final milestone in our road map out of lockdown, but the plan to restore our freedoms must come with a warning.

"While the phenomenal vaccine rollout has offered every adult some protection against the virus, and the crucial link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths is weakened, the global pandemic is not over yet.

"Cases will rise as we unlock, so as we confirm our plans today, our message will be clear. Caution is absolutely vital, and we must all take responsibility so we don't undo our progress, ensuring we continue to protect our NHS."