Facemask rules to ‘remain in place after Freedom Day’ – as poll reveals more than 70% of Britons back keeping coverings AFTER June 21
- Use of face coverings will still be encouraged in enclosed areas after June 21
- YouGov survey reveals public support for cautious reopening on ‘Freedom Day’
- 71 per cent of respondents want to keep masks on in shops and public transport
- Over 60 per cent said they supported social distancing rules remaining in place
Senior government officials are weighing up whether to keep face coverings a mandatory requirement indoors beyond June 21, as the country approaches crunch-time ahead of ‘Freedom Day’.
The news comes as new polling suggests large swathes of the public continue to support a tentative return to normality with most coronavirus restrictions set to ease by the end of June.
A YouGov survey found more than 70 per cent of respondents support the continued wearing of face masks beyond June 21.
61 per cent of those asked also backed social distancing to remain in pubs and restaurants, while just over half (51 per cent) wanted the rule of six to be dropped in indoor settings.
Senior government officials are also debating whether or not to keep face masks as a mandatory requirement in public spaces, according to the Times.
The news comes as England’s highly anticipated June 21 ‘Freedom Day’ now appears to be hanging in the balance amid the spread of the Indian variant.
A new YouGov poll suggests more than 70 per cent of respondents support the continued wearing of face masks indoors beyond ‘Freedom Day’ on June 21
61 per cent of those asked also backed social distancing to remain in pubs and restaurants, while just over half (51 per cent) wanted the rule of six to be dropped in indoor setting
The YouGov poll questioned English respondents on which coronavirus restrictions should end on June 21.
When it came to the use of face coverings, 22 per cent said they wanted masks off, while 71 per cent said they supported the continued use of them.
On social distancing in pubs and restaurants, 61 per cent backed the 2m rule to stay, while 30 per cent argued they wanted it to come to an end.
Finally, on the rule of six for indoor gatherings, 51 per cent said they wanted that cap on numbers to be lifted, as 36 per cent said it should remain.
Despite this, officials are reportedly drawing up secret plans to delay the end of the country’s coronavirus restrictions by two weeks until July after daily case numbers rose again.
England’s ‘Freedom Day’ appears to be hanging in the balance amid the rapid spread of the highly infectious Indian variant, which is doubling in prevalence every nine days and is now the dominant strain in the country.
An Office for National Statistics report today showed weekly Covid case numbers spiked 75 per cent last week to 86,000, and SAGE estimates the R rate is definitely above one and could be as high as 1.2.
No10 this week insisted that there was still ‘nothing in the data’ that suggested the crucial unlocking this month will not go ahead, but scientists are pushing for a slight delay.
Officials are reportedly drawing up secret plans to delay the end of the country’s coronavirus restrictions by two weeks until July
Social distancing could also be retained post-June 21, according to The Sun, as could limits on the number of people allowed inside venues, raising concerns over England’s hosting some of the delayed Euro 2020 football tournament.
Industry chiefs also warned that without the total removal of restrictions, pubs remain ‘unviable’ and could lose millions in potential trade during the tournament and Britain’s warmest weeks.
On Friday, ministers said they were doing ‘everything we possible can’ to speed up the process of inoculating the public, ahead of a crucial decision over whether to ease restrictions on June 21.
Speaking to The Telegraph, a government source said ministers ‘want to double-dose as soon as possible’, and hope that the acceleration with keep ‘freedom day’ as June 21.
However, the possibility of a two week delay to the lifting of restrictions is also being discussed, according to the newspaper, with a quicker vaccination programme potentially allowing over-40s to receive their second doses by July 5 – two weeks after June 21 – amid concerns over the Delta variant.