Petition Make it mandatory to wear a face mask in public during Covid-19 Pandemic
The Government should make it mandatory for people to wear a face mask in
public given the rapidly spreading Covid-19 Pandemic.
It has been used as way to attempt to curb the spreading of Coronavirus in
China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, and other countries. It is less-costly,
easy-handling and pragmatically meaningful to do as such in the United
This response was given on 22 June 2020
The Government has recently updated its guidance to advise that all passengers on public transport, and those visiting hospitals must wear face coverings. We continue to follow the scientific advice.
The well-being and safety of the public is the Government’s primary concern.
Evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) suggests that face coverings may help reduce the risk of transmission if someone is suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms. However, the widespread use of masks in public is not yet supported by high quality scientific evidence.
Social distancing and hand hygiene remain the most important ways to guard against the virus, face coverings may help prevent individuals who have coronavirus but are not presenting symptoms from spreading it to others.
However, as lockdown restrictions ease, we recognise that more people will now be coming into contact with others and there may be incidences where social distancing cannot be maintained consistently. We have therefore continued to evolve our advice on face coverings to recognise this context.
The Government therefore made two announcements relating to the use of face coverings in specific situations last week. On 4 June the Transport Secretary announced that the Government will work with transport operators to make it mandatory for passengers to wear face coverings when using public transport in England from the 15th of June. On 5 June, the Health Secretary announced that all staff in hospitals in England will be provided with surgical masks which they must wear; and all hospital visitors and outpatients should wear face coverings, also from the 15th of June.
These face coverings can and should be made at home, using scarves or other textile items. We have published guidance to show people how to do this which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering. We urge the public not to purchase medical or surgical masks as these must be reserved for health and social care workers who face the greatest risk.
The Government continues to look to the scientific evidence and advice it is given to review and refine our advice, and our overall response to COVID-19.
Department for Health and Social Care
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