Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Petition End all requirements to wear face coverings immediately

The Government should remove all mandates for face coverings in all public places, and advise all public authorities and businesses that this measure is no longer necessary.

More details

The number of deaths is currently below normal levels for the time of year and a month long plateau of cases indicates there is no imminent threat of resurgence. Furthermore, asymptomatic spread has never been proven to be a main driver of transmission. We believe that the requirement to wear face coverings is not necessary, and that all mandates for wearing them should be ended immediately.

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Government responded

This response was given on 11 May 2021

Everyone must continue to minimise the risk of further COVID-19 waves. The best way remains the wearing of face coverings together with regular hand-washing, social distancing and fresh air.

Read the response in full

The Government is asking the public to continue to play their part and wear face coverings in order to help fight the spread of the virus, particularly as we follow the Road Map and more of the economy and society opens up. The more we all do to reduce the spread of the virus, the quicker life can return to normal.

The vaccination programme has been extremely successful so far and has had a clear impact on the spread of the virus. However, we do not yet know the precise impact of the vaccine on transmission of the virus. Even after people have had both doses of the vaccine, they may still carry and transmit COVID-19, spreading of the virus will then continue. Face coverings together with regular hand-washing and social distancing, remain a vital part of reducing transmission of the virus.

COVID-19 usually spreads by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. These droplets can also be picked up from surfaces, if you touch a surface and then your face without washing your hands first. There is evidence to suggest that, when used correctly, face coverings may reduce the likelihood of someone with the infection passing it on to others, particularly if they are asymptomatic. Because face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from COVID-19 they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing.

The wearing of face coverings has been required on public transport since 15 June 2020.

Since 24 July 2020, it has been mandatory for people to wear face coverings in enclosed indoor spaces, where they cannot easily socially distance, and where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet – for example in supermarkets.

In recent weeks, some lockdown restrictions have been eased and the non-essential retail sector has reopened. As footfall increases, we want to give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops. The British Retail Consortium has said that together with other social distancing measures, face coverings can make shoppers feel even more confident about returning to the high street.

The Government has published guidance online which sets out when the public need to wear one and how they can make their own. Rightly, there are exemptions for those who are unable to wear a face covering due to age, health, disability, and other reasons. There has been an ongoing assessment as to the impacts of the Government’s policy, including on groups with protected characteristics, that has informed decision making.

The Government is running a proactive communications campaign on face coverings to alert the public where they are now required to wear a face covering, who is exempt from wearing one, and how to wear one correctly. We are actively engaging with stakeholders including disability charities to communicate new guidance to their members as well as highlighting this message to the general public on social media and via broadcasting opportunities.

We will keep advice on the use of face coverings under review, in line with the latest scientific evidence.

Department of Health and Social Care

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