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A woman wearing a light blue mask. She is looking away from the camera and her dark hair is tied back.

Londoners most likely to wear face masks in England but should they be compulsory?

By Lilly Subbotin
July 30 2020, 15.00
[email protected]_Londoner

Since the laws regarding face masks changed last week, the questions on everyone’s PPE-covered lips seem to be surrounding the debate as to whether we should be made to wear them in public. 

As of July 24, face coverings are required to be worn in any shops, including food shops and supermarkets due to new legislation. Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to £100.

This has led to a divide in opinion, some see it as their civic duty while some decry the effectiveness of them. 

Others believe that though they may not be sure of the science, it’s better to mask up and potentially protect others than not at all.

Masters student Anna Bland from Bristol, 23, said: “My feelings on masks is that evidence that face masks, cloth especially, actually work is shaky and not very convincing.

“I really don’t understand the refusal to pop one on to go into the shops for 20 mins.

“I feel like the debate is more worth having for those who wear masks in high-risk situations.”

On the other hand, Jonathan Hawes from south west London, 26, said: “ I think the ‘rule’ for masks to be made mandatory in public spaces is insanity.

“To mask healthy people in public never had any science to back it up even in the height of the ‘covid spike’, only people going into sick wards ever need to wear masks. And now when there are extremely low cases being reported, to mandate masks is absurd.

“There have been hundreds of randomised studies showing they don’t stop the spread of a virus, as virus particles are much smaller than the holes in the majority of face coverings.

“The governments have not mentioned once the importance of strengthening the immune system – no mention of diet, exercise or social interaction, which is harmful not to mention as ‘lack of social interaction’ is the number one immune system suppressant.”

Jamie Walford from Bristol, said: “Everyone should wear a face mask. The best case scenario is that it could literally save someone’s life. The worst case scenario is that maybe it doesn’t do anything.”

Former Tory MP and Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe has suggested a designated shopping hour for mask dissenteneters like herself, who can shop ‘unmuzzled’.

Despite the conflicts in opinion, data from Dynata has revealed that the number of people who never wear a mask in public has steadily declined since lockdown.

(Data from Dynata)

It has also been shown that Londoners are the second best and most consistent mask wearers across the UK, with Scotland taking the top spot.

(Data from Dynata)

16-24 year-olds are the most likely age group to wear a mask when out in public.

(Data from Dynata)

You’re exempt from wearing a face mask if you’re under 11, unable to due to a disability, fear and distress, or assisting someone who needs lip reading to communicate.

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