Tuesday, 27 Jul 2021

‘People are grown-ups!’ Stephen Barclay desperately defends U-turn on mask guidance

Stephen Barclay insists face mask guidance is not 'inconsistent'

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Speaking to Sky News’ Niall Paterson, Stephen Barclay stressed that Britons should be treated as “grown-ups” and make their own decision from July 19 on whether they wish to continue wearing masks. His comments come as confusion has risen in recent weeks as ministers have issued mixed messaging around mask-wearing after ‘Freedom Day’ when most coronavirus restrictions are set to be scrapped as the UK moves out of lockdown.

Mr Paterson said: “In terms of masks, we had Robert Jenrick on July 4 saying we need to take personal responsibility.

“You had your boss at the treasury saying he was going to stop wearing them as soon as the requirement was dropped?

“No we are being told wearing masks is to be encouraged in some settings?

He slammed: “Where is the consistency?!”

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Mr Barclay hit back, insisting: “I think people are grown-ups that they understand that many people are frustrated with wearing masks, it’s not a particularly pleasant experience.”

But he then went on to outline how mask-wearing is “prudent” in certain situations but not necessary in others.

He stressed: “If for example you are on a long train journey and if the carriage is empty then people quite rightly say ‘is it necessary’?

“But at the same time if you’re on a very busy commuter tube for example, what the guidance is saying that it’s prudent to wear a mask.”

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Mr Barclay added: “We are saying it is no longer the law to do so but let’s trust your vowers to reach their judgement.”

But he insisted: “When it’s crowded when it’s busy, of course, wear a mask! But people can reach a judgement on that I think!

“We are trusting British people rather than making it a legal requirement.”

The Government have not made masking a legal requirement from July 19th when covid restrictions in England will ease. 

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On Sunday, July 11 the UK recorded a further 31,352 coronavirus cases.

While there were a further 26 deaths of people who died within 28-days of a positive coronavirus case.

In the last seven days, there have been 221,752 coronavirus cases recorded in the UK.

Over 45,881,000 Britons have received at least one dose of a covid vaccine while 34,764,511 have received both doses.

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