The Bow Group has said it is “not reasonable” to tell Britons they must wear masks in shops, after weeks of witnessing lawlessness on the streets in the form of Black Lives Matter protests and other mass gatherings that have seen little police intervention.
From Friday, July 24th, it will be law in England to wear masks in supermarkets and shops. Police officers will have the power to fine people up to £100 if they are caught shopping without one. Like current regulations imposing mask-wearing on public transport, children under 11 and those with medical conditions are exempt.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday night, according to Sky News: “I think that as throughout this crisis people have shown amazing sensitivity towards other people and understanding of the needs to get the virus down by doing things cooperatively.
“I think wearing masks is one of them. In a confined space what you’re doing is you’re protecting other people from the transmission that you might be giving to other people.
“And they in turn they’re are protecting you. It’s a mutual thing. People do see the value of it.”
Downing Street, however, also said that emerging evidence being presented from the World Health Organization (WHO) that the virus could be airborne has also informed the decision.
A Number 10 spokesman said: “There is growing evidence that wearing a face-covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus.
“The prime minister has been clear that people should be wearing face coverings in shops and we will make this mandatory from July 24th.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set to outline the guidance on Tuesday afternoon.
Police Seek Ban on Protests in the UK over Coronavirus After Weeks of Mass Black Lives Matter Gatherings https://t.co/e54h7fdv4r
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 15, 2020
In reaction to the announcement, Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group, told Breitbart London: “In January 2020, recognising the danger of coronavirus, the Bow Group was the first think tank to call for a comprehensive government response. We called for a lockdown and border closure weeks before it was implemented, in the hope the government would buy time to properly retool the NHS and roll out testing to save lives.”
“The UK currently has among the very worst health outcomes in the world for coronavirus, and even during the period of the strictest government-imposed restrictions they were clearly and openly being broken by thousands in protests, riots, and mass socialising without any attempt by the government to enforce their own laws,” Mr Harris-Quinney said in relation to Black Lives Matter UK protests, which in the early demonstrations saw little wearing of masks and no social distancing.
The chairman of the UK’s oldest conservative think tank continued: “It is not reasonable to ask law-abiding British citizens to observe mass lawlessness, at best condoned and at worst encouraged by the government, and then follow the rules to the letter.”
Mr Harris-Quinney added his concerns of the risk that protracted social distancing measures are having on the British economy, saying that while “the priority must always be the preservation of life” a “continued economic downturn will also cost lives”.
“We are in danger of experiencing the worst of both worlds, a devastating impact on public health, followed by a devastating impact on our economy.
“There is likely to be the point at which the long term cost to life of shutdown will become greater than the immediate cost of life of coronavirus, and that point may already have come.
“If the government is unwilling to enforce its own rules fairly and for all, then it cannot expect the public to do so, and the onus should now be on reopening the economy and retooling the NHS to provide better outcomes in dealing with the virus.”
UK: Half of Imported Coronavirus Cases Come from Pakistan https://t.co/sDag1Aq9gT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 28, 2020