UK to make face masks mandatory in shops

A tattoo artist wears a face mask while working on a client at a studio in North Shields on July 13. (AP pic)

LONDON: The British government was on Tuesday to make wearing a face mask mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England from next week.

“The Prime Minister has been clear that people should be wearing face coverings in shops and we will make this mandatory from July 24,” said a statement from Boris Johnson’s Downing Street office.

“There is growing evidence that wearing a face-covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus,” it added.

Face masks have been mandatory on public transport in England since June 15, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock will formally extend that to shops and supermarkets on Tuesday, said Downing Street.

Those who fail to wear a mask face a fine of up to £100 with enforcement to be carried out by the police.

Britain has been one of the countries worst hit by the virus, with almost 45,000 deaths attributed to it.