James Forsyth
James Forsyth

Will making face masks compulsory help us get back to normal?

Will making face masks compulsory help us get back to normal?

The government will announce today that from 24 July face coverings will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets. Those who don’t wear one risk a hundred pound fine. This decision is partly about reducing the spread of the virus – in a shift from the beginning of the crisis the government now thinks masks are effective in this regard, but also about giving people the confidence to go out. The argument goes that if we know everyone will be wearing a mask, so are less likely to spread the virus, when we go to the shops, we’ll be more inclined to head to the high street and spend money. I can see this case. But there is also a risk that the fact everyone is wearing masks will make people less inclined to go out, by emphasising how far from normal things still are.

James Forsyth

Will making face masks compulsory help us get back to normal?

Will making face masks compulsory help us get back to normal?

The government will announce today that from 24 July face coverings will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets. Those who don’t wear one risk a hundred pound fine. This decision is partly about reducing the spread of the virus – in a shift from the beginning of the crisis the government now thinks masks are effective in this regard, but also about giving people the confidence to go out. The argument goes that if we know everyone will be wearing a mask, so are less likely to spread the virus, when we go to the shops, we’ll be more inclined to head to the high street and spend money. I can see this case. But there is also a risk that the fact everyone is wearing masks will make people less inclined to go out, by emphasising how far from normal things still are.

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