16-07-2020

As confirmed on the BBC News Channel, Matt Hancock has said people working in offices would not need to cover up, despite a newspaper report suggesting they would.

"It is something we've looked at and rejected," he said, but added masks would be worn elsewhere by the public "for the foreseeable future".

This announcement has come on the back of confirmation that face coverings in shops will become mandatory in England on 24 July. Those who fail to comply with the new rules on wearing face coverings in England's shops will face a fine of up to £100.

Children under 11, those with certain disabilities, and people working in shops will be exempt.

Scotland already requires shoppers to cover their faces while Wales and Northern Ireland are both weighing up similar policies.

Mr Hancock said face coverings helped prevent spread during short interactions with strangers, but that social distancing and hand washing were more effective for contact with people over long periods of time.

There is a difference between visiting a shop for a few minutes and working alongside colleagues at a desk for several hours, he told BBC Breakfast.

"When you're in close proximity with somebody that you have to work closely to, if you're there for a long time with them, then a mask doesn't offer that protection.The same logic applies for schools - we're not recommending masks for schools because if you're in a classroom with kids all day then a mask doesn't give you protection," he added.


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