Face Masks Will Once Again Be Required On Transport And In Shops, Government Says

Face coverings are back in fashion this winter.

As the first cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus are confirmed in Britain, the UK Government has quickly announced new measures to combat its spread. At a Downing Street press conference this afternoon (November 27), Prime Minister Boris Johnson shared the news that face masks and face coverings will once again be mandatory on public transport and in shops, with enforcement expected to begin imminently. For now, masks won’t be compulsory in hospitality settings.

Wearing face coverings has been a personal choice in England for many weeks now, as the government ceded the choice back to the people. However, with the arrival of the Omicron variant – which scientists fear could be more transmissible and more resistant to vaccines than other strains – the government has been forced into a rethink. Whilst promising that the Health Secretary Sajid Javid would provide more clarity in an upcoming press conference, the Prime Minister’s Twitter account revealed the new rules around mask-wearing.

Meanwhile, further measures will be taking place at UK borders, with all travellers entering the country now required to take a PCR test and isolate until they receive a negative result. Similarly, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia – located in southern Africa, where the Omicron variant has emerged from – have all been added to the UK’s red list, advising us not to travel there.

Though this marks the return of coronavirus restrictions, government scientific advisers have expressed hope that the Covid vaccines, plus the recent booster jab programme, will help mitigate the worst effects of the new variant. Still, with cases on the rise and Christmas around the corner, it’s time for us all to mask up once again.

Also published on Medium.

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