(London) After long hesitation, the British government has decided to make the wearing of masks compulsory in stores in England from 23 July to avoid a resumption of the epidemic of new coronavirus, measure hailed Tuesday as beneficial but late.
France Media Agency
“As we reopen stores, we need to keep our traders safe,” Health Minister Matt Hancock said before Parliament, ” Wearing a mask will be compulsory in shops and supermarkets. ”
According to the Minister, “the cashiers and the security agents suffered disproportionately from the health crisis”, these professions posting a mortality of 57 at 75% higher than the rest of the population.
“There is evidence that wearing a mask gives people more confidence to go back to shopping,” he also said, as government tries to revive British economy hit by coronavirus crisis, which has already done more 44 500 dead in the country.
Since 15 June, wearing a mask was already mandatory in public transport, but only recommended in enclosed public spaces. The measure will take effect in ten days, “to give people a little time to prepare,” Environment Minister George Eustice told Sky News.
It will not apply to pubs, restaurants, or supermarket employees. Violators will risk up to 100 fine books (170 $ CAN), as is already the case in public transportation.
The British Doctors' Association said that the requirement to wear a mask in stores was “long overdue” and should be implemented immediately.
The mayor of London, Labor Sadiq Khan, hailed on the BBC this “flip-flop” of the Conservative government, stressing that “this small measure, combined with others, could make a huge difference. ”
The professional trade union of the retail trade welcomed the “clarity” of this obligation, after “contradictory messages” which made “really difficult for people to understand what they had to do. ”
On the streets of the capital, Londoners are divided: “It could be a problem for people with asthma, but as long as these exceptions are taken into account, I have no problem with that, “said David Phillips, 51 years.
Less optimistic, Jessica Harvey thinks that “some people will cheat and try to remove them once they enter the stores”. “I don't think that's what to do,” says the photographer from 23 years at AFP, “honestly I think it's too early to reopen the stores. ”
According to a study by the Academy of Medical Sciences, a second wave of new coronavirus this winter could make up to 120 000 0 deaths in UK hospitals in “a reasonable worst case scenario” without adequate preparation.