Mandatory face covering rules for shoppers in England will not apply to staff, a minister has said, amid warnings a second wave of coronavirus infections this winter could be more serious than the first.
As of July 24, people must have their nose and mouth covered when they go shopping or risk a £100 fine. The move follows a weekend of confusion over whether ministers intended to make face coverings compulsory after Boris Johnson said they were looking at “stricter” rules.
But Environment Secretary George Eustice said shop staff are “not being covered” by the rule. He said it won’t be a “compulsory requirement” because it “won’t always be right” for every retail setting.
It comes as scientists warned there could be 120,000 hospital deaths this winter from Covid-19 in a “reasonable worst-case scenario”.
The new report from 37 scientists and academics says action must be taken now to mitigate the potential for a second peak, warning that the R rate could rise to 1.7 from September.