- Health Secretary Matt Hancock struggled to explain new rules on wearing masks coming in from July 24
- He insisted that venues such as Pret will be covered when people buy coffee to take away, but not eat in
- Within hours Downing Street insisted that takeaway outlets will not be covered by the new rules in England
- Sadiq Khan branded it ‘ridiculous’ and said ‘the virus doesn’t know if you’re in a take-away or a supermarket’
- Shoppers not wearing face masks likely to be refused service and could face a £100 fine under new system
- Mr Hancock said masks will be need for ‘foreseeable future’ but denied they will be compulsory in offices
Sadiq Khan today accused the government of ‘risking the health of the public’ to spare Michael Gove’s blushes, after No10 said masks are not necessary in takeaway food outlets – just hours after Matt Hancock suggested the opposite.
Mr Gove was widely criticised for emerging from a Pret in London yesterday without wearing a face covering, with colleagues Liz Truss and chancellor Rishi Sunak pictured protecting themselves at the high street chain.
A new policy on masks comes into force in England on July 24, and Health Secretary Mr Hancock insisted this morning that coverings will be required in venues like Pret when people buy things to go.
He suggested that the crucial point was that people needed to wear masks if they were not receiving table service, and confusingly claimed that ordering at the bar is not permitted at pubs – despite official guidance saying it is.
However, within hours Downing Street added to the bafflement by indicating that cafes and eateries will not be included in the law, as the system will only apply in ‘shops and supermarkets’ in England.
The response sparked anger from Mayor of London Mr Khan, who tweeted: ‘This is frankly ridiculous. The virus doesn’t know if you’re in a take-away or a supermarket.