Brits may STILL have to wear face masks in shops, buses and trains after July 19 as businesses enforce their own rules

BRITS may have to continue wearing face masks in shops, pubs, buses and trains after July 19 with businesses enforcing their own rules.

Boris Johnson is set to ditch compulsory face masks from Freedom Day at a press conference today on scrapping remaining restrictions.

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But government guidance will advise people to consider wearing face coverings in crowded, enclosed places, The Telegraph reports.

To add to the confusion shops and public transport may still enforce mask wearing after July 19, despite the PM tearing up the laws.

Hospitality chiefs also warned punters some pubs and restaurants may keep masks, table service and the rule-of-six, with councils enforcing Covid-risk assessments.

The Prime Minister wants to make masks a personal choice rather than a legal requirement enforced with fines of up to £6,400.


People will be urged to use "common sense", but there is concern the new rules could cause chaos with pandemic-weary Brits.

A source told the Telegraph: "We will still be encouraging people
that it is probably sensible to wear a mask in a busy enclosed space.

“Although it is not legally required, it doesn’t mean people should not strongly consider doing it.

“You don’t have to wear them but if shops, pubs or restaurants demand that
you do, we will advise people to be mindful of that and stick to it because it
is their premises.”

I think there might be a temptation of local authorities, that needs to be resisted, to put in place actual fixed regulations or rules that are more restrictive than they need to be

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UK Hospitality, said: “There’s going to be customers who are expecting everything to fall away and
there’s going to be places that they won't be able to do that.”

She added: "If you do feel confident, you’re very happy to go to a pub that is crowded, it’s showing football and people are standing up, and if you are a more reticent consumer then you’re going to look for ones where it’s table service."

She called on councils not to bring in tougher measures that hammer businesses struggling with the economic hit of the pandemic.

Ms Nicholls said: “I think there might be a temptation of local authorities, that needs to be resisted, to put in place actual fixed regulations or rules that are more restrictive than they need to be." 

Meanwhile, millions of commuters on London's Tube may also need to keep wearing masks after July 19.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has refused to rule out making face coverings compulsory on the network.

Transport for London (TfL) could set its own conditions of carriage, but sources told the Daily Mail that would be "very difficult".

TFL commissioner Andy Byford said: “If Government advice is to drop masks, we will still take into account what our customers have said.

“What our customers have said is that they want to see a clean, safe,
orderly environment.”

Mask laws mean it is an offence for people to board a train, bus, plane or taxi without wearing one, unless medically exempt.


They are currently legally required in shops, supermarkets, theatres, libraries, churches, youth and social clubs, hotels and most other indoor settings.

A first offence carries a fine of ÂŁ200, reduced to ÂŁ100 if paid within 14 days with the penalty doubling for repeat offences up to a maximum of ÂŁ6,400.

This morning, Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, said people should continue following hygienic practices after Covid restrictions had been lifted and use "common sense."

He told BBC Breakfast: "I'll be following the guidance as I have throughout.

"There may be occasions in the next few months in a crowded environment where I might choose to wear a mask and I'm sure others will make similar choices."

Mr Johnson will address the nation at 5pm as Brits prepare to ditch enforced Covid curbs that have become a way of life in the last 16 months.

It comes after yesterday's Covid cases rose by 161 per cent in a fortnight – while the death toll remained low with 15 more reported fatalities.


But Britain's vaccine rollout has meant surging cases haven't led to high death tolls.

In a statement ahead of today's announcement, the PM said: "Thanks to the successful rollout of our vaccination programme, we are progressing cautiously through our roadmap.

"Today we will set out how we can restore people's freedoms when we reach step 4.

"But I must stress that the pandemic is not over and that cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks.

"As we begin to learn to live with the virus, we must all continue to carefully manage the risks from Covid and exercise judgement when going about our lives."

The Cabinet is expected to sign off on rules exempting those who have received both doses of a Covid jab not being required to self-isolate when they come into contact with someone who tests positive for the virus.

Currently, anyone alerted by Test and Trace that they have been near someone who has tested positive must — by law — isolate at home.

But after a successful pilot scheme running since April, ministers are set to replace that rule for the fully vaccinated with 20-minute lateral flow tests taken each day for the same amount of time.

A minister told The Sun on Sunday: “It’s all about learning to live with Covid.

"This virus is going to be around for some time and with so many of us now vaccinated, we’re going to have to make up our own minds on when to cover up."

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