Masks scrapped 'as early as next month' and over 35s jabs 'soon'

Shoppers out in force wearing masks in Norwich city centre on the first day it became mandatory for

Shoppers may be allowed to ditch the masks from next month. Pictured are shopping in Norwich wearing masks - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Rules on face masks imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic could be changed next month, the health secretary has confirmed.

The wearing of face coverings across a variety of settings, including on public transport, in shops and restaurants, has been in force since last summer.

But now the government has announced it could change the rules around mask-wearing from next month

Matt Hancock said ministers "haven't ruled that out" as part of step four of England's roadmap for easing Covid-19 restrictions on 21 June, but he urged people to continue exercising "personal responsibility".

He also said those aged 35 and over will be offered their coronavirus vaccine soon, with the rollout currently inoculating everyone over the age of 40.

Heath Secretary Matt Hancock speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Photo: House of Common/PA Wire

Matt Hancock speaking in the House of Commons - Credit: PA

Mr Hancock made the announcement after prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed step three of lockdown easing will go ahead next Monday, May 17.

This means pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen indoors and people allowed to mix indoors as two households or under the rule of six. People will also have the choice of whether to socially distance with close family and friends they are meeting up with.

Most Read

Guidance on close personal conduct will be also be published, and will include guidance around individuals taking personal responsibility and exercising common sense according to their circumstances.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter