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Make it mandatory to wear a face mask in public during Covid-19 Pandemic

Submitted by Dr Wei Shi on Tuesday 17th March 2020

Published on Wednesday 8th April 2020

Current status: Closed

Closed: Thursday 8th October 2020

Signatures: 16,688

Relevant Departments

Tagged with

Covid ~ Covid-19 ~ The Government

Petition Action

Make it mandatory to wear a face mask in public during Covid-19 Pandemic

Petition Details

The Government should make it mandatory for people to wear a face mask in
public given the rapidly spreading Covid-19 Pandemic.

Additional Information

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
Kingdom.


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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Tuesday 8th September 2020

The Government has announced new rules on face coverings. Visitors to shops and supermarkets, as well as passengers on public transport and visitors to hospitals, will need to wear face coverings.

The Government continues to evolve advice on face coverings based on scientific advice. The evidence remains inconclusive around the widespread efficacy of using face coverings to protect individuals from COVID-19.

The Government has always been clear that its highest priority in managing this national crisis is protecting our public and our NHS.

Alongside rigorous and widespread testing, social distancing measures and regular communication with the public, we continue to prioritise provision of and appropriate guidance regarding Personal Protective Equipment and guidance on face coverings for the public.

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. This is why we have introduced them as a precautionary measure in places where social distancing measures are not always possible consistently.

Since 11 May, government guidance has advised the public to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces, where they may come into contact with people they wouldn’t usually meet. The use of face has been required on public transport and in hospital settings in England from 15 June.

There is however stronger evidence to suggest that the measures in relations to social distancing, hand hygiene and isolation offer the best protection from the spread of the disease, and our advice on face coverings does not negate this. Though face coverings are more habitually and widely worn in public in some countries – such as China or Japan – the evidence remains inconclusive around its widespread efficacy in protecting individuals from COVID-19. The wearing of face coverings is an additional mitigation to be used alongside these other measures, and does not replace them.

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. The Government therefore announced on 14 July that face masks will become a mandatory requirement for customers in shops and supermarkets from 24 July.

We will continue to evolve our advice on face coverings to recognise this context, and continue to follow scientific advice.

Department for Health and Social Care

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/304397)

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