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Government Says Face Masks Will Not Be Compulsory in Restaurants and Pubs

The news follows the announcement that masks will be compulsory in shops from 24 July

Two restaurant staff wear masks at Ombra in London Michaël Protin

U.K. mask policy gets even more fragmented

Environment secretary George Eustice has said that the government will not mandate masks in pubs, restaurants, cafes, and bars, because, “obviously people have got to eat.” Eustice made the announcement on Sky News, shortly after — and not before some characteristic ministerial dithering — the government announced that face coverings would be mandatory in shops from 24 July, with a £100 fine for breaching the rules. Face coverings have been compulsory on public transport since 4 June.

Restaurants across the city have already either made it compulsory or given staff the option to wear masks during service, as part of safety measures for reopening, which has been permitted since 4 July. Eustice did not offer a reason for the discrepancy pertaining to transmission of the virus, only the need to eat — a need which has not stopped restaurants and bars in the U.S. from making masks mandatory for staff and customers alike. Per much of the government’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, it’s being left to individuals to make the choice. [Sky News]

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