Ministers 'dodge wearing face coverings in public'

Where’s your mask, Boris? Ministers ‘dodge wearing face coverings in public’ as poll finds 61% in England want to follow Scotland and make them compulsory in shops

  • Boris Johnson has not been seen out and about in public wearing face covering
  • Nicola Sturgeon has made the coverings compulsory in shops in Scotland
  • Poll for MailOnline finds 61 per cent of public in England want to follow suit 

Boris Johnson is under pressure today about dodging wearing a face mask in public – as a poll found 61 per cent of people in England want them made compulsory in shops.

The UK government recommends measures such as a face covering should be taken if people cannot keep two metres away from each other indoors.

However, unlike Scotland – where coverings became compulsory in shops from today – the only place they are mandated is public transport.

Nicola Sturgeon said the rule was likely to apply for the ‘foreseeable future’, and has appeared in public sporting a tartan mask. She has also trolled Mr Johnson by retweeting an article asking why Westminster politicians were not following suit.

A poll by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for MailOnline found 61 per cent of the public in England would like to see coverings enforced in shops and supermarkets – with just 26 per cent opposed. And new figures from the Office for National Statistics today suggested half of adults are already routinely donning them.   

But despite revealing he has a Florence Nightingale mask, the PM has not been seen out and about wearing it. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak faced a backlash yesterday after he was pictured serving food to customers at a Wagamamas in London without a face covering. 

Downing Street insisted this afternoon that policy over face coverings was kept ‘under review’, saying that while people were encouraged to wear them in ‘enclosed spaces’ they were ‘no replacement for good social distancing practices’.  


Nicola Sturgeon (left) has trolled Boris Johnson (right) by retweeting an article asking why Westminster politicians were not wearing face coverings in public

A poll by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for MailOnline found 61 per cent of the public in England would like to see coverings enforced in shops and supermarkets – with just 26 per cent opposed. The support is reflected across the wider UK

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been seen wearing a mask while visiting a hospital, while Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden also wore one while attending a gallery this week.

Mr Sunak has also been pictured greeting people this week by bumping elbows to avoid shaking hands. 

When asked whether such a gesture was according to social distancing rules, the PM’s spokesman said: ‘The guidance is clear that you should stay two metres apart where you can. ‘If that’s not possible, it is one metre, plus mitigation, and that mitigation has been set out in the guidance.’ 

In a round of interviews this morning, culture minister Caroline Dinenage said she wears a mask ‘all the time’ as the Government came under pressure to answer why more senior figures had not been pictured wearing face coverings. 

Ms Dinenage, when asked if she had worn a covering since the coronavirus pandemic started, said she regularly wore face masks made by her son and that she had posted an image of herself wearing it on social media.

To mark face masks being made mandatory on public transport last month, the Tory MP tweeted a picture of herself on June 5 while wearing a cloth covering.

Ms Dinenage told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I wear mine all the time.

‘I have a fashion design student as a son who has run me up a few on his sewing machine and I wear them all the time.

‘A lot of us are out there wearing them as we go about our daily lives.’

Ms Dinenage said ‘you’d have to ask the Prime Minister and the Chancellor’ when questioned why neither of the highest ranking ministers had been photographed wearing a covering in public.

She said ‘lots of my colleagues’ had taken to wearing a face covering, adding: ‘If the scientific evidence proves that it (the guidance on masks) definitely is something that needs to change, then of course we will.’

Asked whether the government had considered introducing a similar rule to Scotland in England, Ms Dinenage told the BBC: ‘Yes of course, and they are mandatory on public transport.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak faced a backlash yesterday after he was pictured serving food to customers at a Wagamamas in London without a face covering

Eu chief negotiator Michel Barnier wore a mask when he came to Downing Street this week – in contrast to the PM and the Chancellor

‘But we have said face coverings in closed spaces is advised, but people can use their own discretion – but of course we will keep this under review.

‘This is a topic upon which scientists tend to have rather different views so we are looking at it as new scientific studies emerge.’

The ONS survey was conducted between July 2-5, with 52 per cent of the public saying they had worn a face covering in the previous week – up from 43 per cent the week before..

The president of the Royal Society this week recommended that everyone should wear a face covering in public to reduce the risk of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Professor Venki Ramakrishna said people should wear a mask when they leave home – particularly in enclosed indoor spaces – but acknowledged that the public remain ‘sceptical’ about the benefits.

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