Face Coverings to be compulsory throughout the whole UK community?

Since easing lockdown measures gradually over the past few weeks, the UK government has announced that the wearing of face masks in certain community environments. As of tomorrow, (the 24th of July), legislation will come into place that means UK citizens will be required to sport a face covering before being permitted to undertake certain activities.

The new rules on wearing face coverings

There has been ongoing debate for a number of weeks during the pandemic situation, discussing the effectiveness of wearing a face covering, and whether or not it should be made mandatory for UK citizens, in public environments. The British Medical Association and a number of other expert health groups have undertaken some significant lobbying of the government, to persuade the Prime Minister to take decisive action ensuring that face coverings become mandatory.

After a delay of eleven days, the government has now agreed that face coverings need to be worn in shops in addition to public transport, in a bid to ensure that the UK does not fall victim to a ‘second wave’ of the disease, which could see the country back into a lockdown scenario, should the infection rate rise once again.

The BMA and others have been arguing to demand that the government extends this decision, to all public areas within which social distancing measures cannot be effectively enforced. However, to date, this has not been entered into current legislation. According to a recent survey undertaken by the BMA, thousands of doctors have provided their overwhelming support to making the move to mandate face coverings for all community settings. 5,000 GPs across both England and Wales engaged with the survey, which led to 86% stating that a broader move to mandating mask wearing should be implemented.

The Council Chair of the BMA, Chaand Nagpaul, has stated: ‘For months doctors at the BMA have called on the Government to stop equivocating and to ask people to wear face coverings over their mouths and noses in public places where they cannot safely socially distance. Up until now the Westminster Government has refused to put in place this logical policy to prevent spread of the virus, and which has been the norm in around 120 countries globally including most of Europe – so this step is long overdue.

Currently, the Office of National Statistics data is indicating that there are around 500 new incidences of Covid-19 infection each day across England. This may suggest that more stringent approaches to mandatory face coverings may be effective in inhibiting the spread further, and preventing a second wave of the virus. Medical professionals are particularly concerned about the potential impacts of the winter period, where it is thought that the colder temperature, in conjunction with the rise of seasonal influenza, could put additional strain on the National Health Service when it comes to treating those seriously impacted by the Coronavirus infection.

If you are yet to purchase a face covering to ensure you maintain compliance with the new legislation issued by the government. Contact us at sales@smigroupuk.com to gain a further insight into how we can help you with protecting yourself and your staff.