Announcing that the UK has reached a ‘perilous turning point’ in the fight against the spread of Covid-19, Boris Johnson has said that face coverings must be worn by customers in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres around the UK and that they will become compulsory in England for bar staff, shop workers, waiters and taxi drivers.
Those who fail to do so can be fined by the police – up to £100 in England, or £60 in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Yesterday afternoon, Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propetymark, clarified the situation relating to estate agency offices:
“We have asked the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government how the Prime Minister’s announcement about face masks for those in retail will impact agents and have been told that agents will be expected to wear masks while working in their High Street offices.
“Legislation will be brought in to this effect shortly and we advise agents must adopt this measure to both protect themselves and their clients.”
The required legislation could be in place by the end of this week.
The other measures are:
Work from home if you can;
Pubs and restaurants to close at 10pm;
Heavier fines for those who do not comply;
A reduction in the numbers allowed at weddings and funerals;
A ban on indoor sports involving more than six people.
We know that a number of readers are unconvinced by the argument that face coverings help to stop the spread of Covid and no doubt there will be cries that our civil liberties are being infringed. However it does appear that the rate of infection is getting out of control again and we all need to work together to try to avoid another complete lockdown. On the simple premise that face coverings presumably do not assist the virus to spread, there can be little harm in us all complying. It might just help.