Mask rules 'disruptive' but could help avoid lockdown – MP

Face masks being compulsory in shops and on public transport is "not the news anyone wanted" - but could be necessary to avoid a full-blown lockdown.


              
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covid-19). Picture date: Saturday November 27, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Hollie Adams/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covid-19). Picture date: Saturday November 27, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Hollie Adams/PA Wire

That is according to Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said restrictions will be tightened from tomorrow due to concerns over the Omicron Covid variant.

The PM is also clamping down on travellers arriving in England, who will be asked to take a PCR test for Covid-19 on the second day and must self-isolate until they provide a negative test.

Experts say Omicron is potentially more contagious than previous variants, although it is not yet known if it will cause more severe illness.

Two cases have been identified in Nottingham and Brentwood in Essex.

A third case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant has been confirmed in the UK, in a person who visited London but has since left the country, the UK Health Security Agency said.

Mr Johnson warned that the variant could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

Mark Pritchard MP

Wrekin MP Mr Pritchard said the decision would be disruptive to people's lives, but not acting now could lead to tighter restrictions down the line.

He said: "This is not the news anyone wanted to hear, but it is right for the government to act quickly so that any return to restrictions is limited, hopefully short-lived and we can avoid returning to a full-blown lockdown.

"Erring on the side of caution is disruptive to work, social lives and businesses, but failing to act now could mean any restrictions are a lot worse later."

Shop owners, bus drivers and train staff will now be preparing to enforce the rules.

When asked if she was concerned about making sure shoppers obey the new rules, Stacey Hill, owner of Oberon clothing shop in Wyle Cop, insisted she had faith in customers.

Stacey Hill of Oberon in Shrewsbury

"I actually think it's a good thing. People know where they stand now," she said.

"Before you'd have some with, some without, and you could tell the ones wearing masks were looking at the ones who weren't and feeling nervous.

"Now people know exactly what they are doing."

And she doesn't believe mask-wearing will deter people from going out and doing their shopping in the run up to Christmas.

"I don't think it will put people off. I think people will keep supporting their shops," she added.

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