There will be no “legal compulsion” to wear face masks once England’s coronavirus restrictions are lifted, the environment secretary has told Sky News, as he said he will ditch his face covering when the rule is scrapped.
George Eustice said the government wants “all of the legal requirements to do things to be taken away completely” at step four of its roadmap for lifting Covid-19 measures, which is currently scheduled for 19 July.
“Whether there will still be some people who might choose to wear masks or whether it may be advisory in some settings, that’s a separate matter,” he said.
“But the objective of that final stage is to remove the legal requirement to do these things.”
Asked if he would continue to wear a face covering beyond that point, the minister replied: “I wouldn’t, no. I have to be honest, once I’m told it’s safe not to, I want to get back to normal.
“I think a lot of people will want to shed those masks.
“But while it’s contributing to controlling the pandemic, yes I will wear my mask like everybody else and do my bit.”
But Downing Street has said “no final decisions” have been made on whether all restrictions will be lifted on 19 July.
“It is right that obviously we want to get back to as close to normal as is possible post-Step 4,” Boris Johnson’s spokesman said.
“However, no final decisions have been taken about what measures are required. Those sort of issues fall under the certification reviews.
“No final decisions have been taken on those but we will set out the exact details ahead of Step 4.”