Shoppers' mixed reaction to Boris' July 19 Freedom Day mask plans

‘I definitely WON’T wear a mask once it’s not mandatory’: Shoppers say they can’t wait to ditch face coverings at the pub – but will still wear them in crowded stores and trains in mixed reaction to Boris’ Freedom Day plan

  • The PM is set to announce the end of social distancing rules and mask laws today
  • The rule changes are set to be part of new plans ahead of July 19 ‘Freedom Day’ 
  • But the upcoming announcement was met with mixed reaction from shoppers
  • Some say they will keep wearing face coverings even if official advice changes 
  • Others cannot wait to ditch them and say there is ‘no chance’ they will continue

Shoppers say they will ditch masks while eating in pubs and restaurants but still plan to wear them in crowded places as they reacted to Boris Johnson’s new ‘Freedom Day’ plans.   

The Prime Minister is set to announce the end of social distancing rules, the work from home order, and mask laws in a highly-anticipated press conference at 5pm today. 

The PM will signal a sharp shift in approach, saying people must use their common sense on Covid risks rather than being compelled by the state. 

But the news has been met with mixed reaction from people across the country, with some saying they cannot wait to ditch their face coverings, while others called the government’s announcement ‘premature’. 

Brandon Walsh a charity fundraiser from Northfield, Birmingham, said: ‘Once it’s not mandatory I definitely won’t.

‘I have been wearing mine in the places you have to but there’s no chance after July 19.

Self employed seamstress Hilary Gunton, 59, from Redditch, Worcs., said she cannot wait to see the end of masks as she welcomed Boris Johnson’s expected annoucement today


David Pardo (pictured right) said he would ditch the face coverings in the pub and larger supermarkets, while Brandon Walsh says there is ‘no chance’ he will be wearing masks after July 19

Boris Johnson is to declare an end to most lockdown restrictions from July 19 at a press conference later today

‘It should be our decision whether we do, if other people still want to it’s up to them.’

The 24-year-old added: ‘I think if people are worried about the virus they should get vaccinated like I’ve been.

‘If you have an weakened immune system for whatever reason you are at risk but I don’t think we should carry one wearing masks for that reason.

Chloe Baker, 28, PR manager from Kidderminster, Worcs., slammed those who were critical of masks and said the government’s decision appeared ‘premature’ 

‘It’s an airborne virus so I don’t really understand how masks help anyway.’

Hilary Gunton, 59, seamstress from Redditch, Worcs., also said: ‘I can’t wait to not have to wear masks, the law’s stopped me from doing things I enjoy because I find masks so uncomfortable and difficult to talk and breathe in them.

‘It’s stopped me from having a lot of interaction because I live alone and have only seen close family and friends.’

But others disagreed, saying that they will continue to wear masks on public transport, in shops and in public places.

The chances of larger crowds are set to increase if social distancing guidelines are removed. 

The one-metre plus decree and advice to work from home where possible will be dropped are among the restrictions set to be dropped.

Mask wearing will also no longer be mandatory, it is understood, while pubs and other venues will not have to collect customer details and will again be able to serve drinks at the bar. 

Despite the changes, Joanna Dunne will be keeping her mask firmly on, calling the government’s expected announcement ‘irresponsible’.   

Finance manager Elise Hewett, 36, from Rugby, Warwickshire, said she would still wear masks on packed trains even if the advice changes

pPainter and decorator Thomas Benson, 60, added: ‘I’m definitely going to keep wearing masks because I think it’s best for safety’

The 23-year-old bereavement worker from Leeds, said: ‘I will still wear my mask even after then because cases are still going up.

‘It’s still a deadly disease and we’re just starting to see some great progress.

‘But we’ve been through a number of lockdowns because the government acted too hastily.

Time for the bar! From table service to working from home, those changing rules 

Boris Johnson is to declare an end to most lockdown restrictions from July 19 today, with social distancing rules, the work from home order, and mask mandates to be ditched as he will argue that we must learn to live with coronavirus as we do with the flu.

The Prime Minister will use a press conference this afternoon to confirm a bonfire of virus rules and restrictions from the so-called Freedom Day later this month, in which he will say that individuals will again be able to judge the risks of coronavirus for themselves. 

PUBS AND RESTAURANTS

Hospitality venues in England will no longer be required to collect track and trace data from July 19. Businesses won’t have to ask customers to scan a QR code using the NHS phone app on entry or to hand over their contact details, although they will have the option of continuing to do so if they wish. Mandatory table service rules will also be scrapped, meaning drinkers will be able to order at the bar again in pubs.

MASKS

Wearing masks will become voluntary everywhere apart from hospitals and other health facilities from July 19 in England. Public transport passengers, shoppers and those visiting pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres will no longer be required by law to cover up. However, people may still be encouraged to wear masks in some enclosed places where they come into close contact with each other, for example on London Tube trains.

HOLIDAYS

Double-jabbed Britons will be allowed to enjoy a foreign break without having to isolate when they return to England. People who have had both vaccine doses will no longer have to quarantine for ten days after visiting amber list countries, such as Spain, France and Greece. It is possible the change to the travel rules will come into force on July 19, but Government sources last night cautioned that this date is seen as ‘ambitious’.

TEST AND TRACE

People in England who have received both coronavirus vaccine doses will no longer have to isolate at home for ten days if they have come into contact with someone who tests positive. They will be offered lateral flow tests to do themselves at home instead, although these will not be compulsory. The change could come into force on July 19, although the date has not yet been finalised.

SCHOOLS

The bubbles system that has seen whole classes or year groups sent home if just one pupil tests positive for coronavirus will be scrapped in England. Ministers are planning to announce a new way of handling outbreaks ready for the new school year in September. Instead of sending children home en masse, those who have come into contact with a positive case are likely to be given daily tests.

WORK FROM HOME

The official guidance telling people to ‘work from home if you can’ will be scrapped on July 19 in England. But it will be left up to employers and their staff to decide whether they have to go back to their desks. Ministers will not launch a campaign encouraging staff back to the office and are resigned to there not being a mass return to workplaces this summer.

‘We’ve been through a long year and a half, I think it’s worth waiting a little bit longer to ensure we do get through this.’ 

David Pardo, a 53-year-old property manager from Telford, Shropshire, agreed that he wil keep wearing masks on public transport – but said he would ditch the face coverings in the pub and larger supermarkets. 

He told Mail Online: ‘I’m very much looking forward to freedom day but I will keep wearing a mask after July 19 on public transport like the train when I come into work.

‘After freedom day though I won’t want to wear one when getting up in pubs and restaurants, I don’t see the point in that.

‘I wouldn’t wear one in larger shops like supermarkets but I think it still makes sense in smaller shops when they’re busy.

‘I can’t see the day when I would never wear a mask and I’ll be keeping an eye on cases over the autumn to decide if I start wearing one more.

‘I’m double jabbed now so I feel comfortable now around other people although I understand if people do want to carry one wearing masks.’ 

Thomas Benson, 60, painter and decorator from Birmingham city centre, added: ‘I’m definitely going to keep wearing masks because I think it’s best for safety.

‘Wearing one doesn’t bother me much and I’ll keep mine on in shops and public transports, but maybe not in the pub.

‘I think it’s good it won’t be required by law so people can make a personal choice.

‘If other people don’t want to it’s up to them.

‘In my opinion we should expect another lockdown in a few months given the rise in cases.

‘I don’t believe a word that Boris says and I even think mask wearing will become law again.’ 

Elise Hewett, 36, finance manager from Rugby, Warks., added: ‘I might still wear one in public areas depending on the circumstances.

‘I don’t get buses because of covid but if I was getting on the train at Snowhill when you’re packed like sardines I probably would.

‘In certain large, crowded shops like Primark I probably would do, but I wouldn’t bother in a small corner shop.

‘I can understand if other people want to because not everyone has the same level of confidence, it’s right it’s personal choice.

‘If a pub or restaurant says you have to wear a mask I would be fine with that if it makes them more comfortable.’

Chloe Baker, 28, PR manager from Kidderminster, Worcs., slammed those who were critical of masks and said the government’s decision appeared ‘premature’.

She said: ‘I think the billing of freedom day is unhelpful because we are free to do lots of things at the moment, it’s not as if you can’t breathe.

‘It makes it sound like we are being released from prison.

‘Making masks optional when cases are rising as they are seems a bit early.

‘I don’t think people would mind wearing them a little bit longer after all this time, we have been told to wear them for however long because they work to prevent infection.

‘The issue is that we’re told masks protect other people more than yourself which could put vulnerable people at risk because of personal preference.

‘I’ll wear my mask in all the places we have to at the moment for my own peace of mind and for other people’s safety.

‘I’ve only had one jab myself and people at work have had covid after getting one dose, so I think we need to keep wearing masks for a bit longer until more people are double jabbed.

‘At the moment I think that is only 60% of the population.’

‘Standing at bars is a British tradition’: Independent landlords vow to ditch ALL Covid rules on Freedom Day – as chains including Wetherspoon and Punch Taverns say they will wait to see PM’s plan

By Antonia Paget for Mail Online

Pub landlords have hailed the news that Boris Johnson’s ‘Freedom Day’ plans will mark the end of mask wearing and table service in hospitality venues. 

Many hospitality business owners are waiting with anticipation to see what the Prime Minister will announce this afternoon. 

But others are adamant that they will be ditching all restrictions as soon as they are allowed to under law. 

Adam Brooks, who runs The Three Colts and The Owl pubs in Essex, told Mail Online: I’ll be ditching everything. It’s what’s right. 

‘It’s what the businesses were designed as, hundreds of years of history. Standing at bars is a British tradition.’

He later posted on social media: ‘Hospitality & this country needs what’s going to be said tonight. This isn’t about ‘Drinking at a bar’ .. This is about life as you knew it returning [sic].’

Pub landlord Adam Brooks runs The Three Colts and The Owl pubs in Essex and says he will be thrilled to reinstate the ‘British tradition’ of drinking at the bar once restrictions are lifted

Gary Murphy, who runs Ye Olde Mitre in High Barnet, also insisted it is time to ‘return to normalcy’ as the Covid restrictions have piled pressure on hospitality businesses

Boris Johnson is to declare an end to most lockdown restrictions from July 19 today, with social distancing rules, the work from home order, and mask mandates to be ditched as he will argue that we must learn to live with coronavirus as we do with the flu. 

PUBS AND RESTAURANTS

Hospitality venues in England will no longer be required to collect track and trace data from July 19. Businesses won’t have to ask customers to scan a QR code using the NHS phone app on entry or to hand over their contact details, although they will have the option of continuing to do so if they wish. Mandatory table service rules will also be scrapped, meaning drinkers will be able to order at the bar again in pubs.

MASKS

Wearing masks will become voluntary everywhere apart from hospitals and other health facilities from July 19 in England. Public transport passengers, shoppers and those visiting pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres will no longer be required by law to cover up. However, people may still be encouraged to wear masks in some enclosed places where they come into close contact with each other, for example on London Tube trains.

 

He added in a second Tweet: ‘Isn’t freedom a lovely thing, the CHOICE to wear a mask or social distance if YOU want to, the choice not go to the busy pub or restaurant if YOU don’t want to [sic].’ 

Boris Johnson is to declare an end to most lockdown restrictions from July 19 at a press conference later today.

Social distancing rules, the work from home order, and mask mandates are expected to be ditched as the Prime Minister will argue that we must learn to live with coronavirus as we do with the flu.

The Prime Minister will use a press conference this afternoon to confirm a bonfire of virus rules and restrictions from the so-called Freedom Day later this month, in which he will say that individuals will again be able to judge the risks of coronavirus for themselves.

The announcement was welcomed with cautious optimism by Wetherspoons boss, Tim Martin.

But the pub giant boss said he would be waiting to see what the government’s plans are when they are finally published. 

He told Mail Online: ‘We will look into what the government is proposing later this week, having discussed with pub teams during our calls on pubs in the interim.

‘In broad terms, Wetherspoon, like the industry, welcomes with open arms, any signs of normality.’  

This was echoed by pub chain Youngs, who also said they would wait until the Prime Minister’s announcement before any decision would be made over restrictions in their pubs.

Under the new plans expected to be set out, hospitality venues in England will no longer be required to collect track and trace data from July 19. 

Businesses won’t have to ask customers to scan a QR code using the NHS phone app on entry or to hand over their contact details, although they will have the option of continuing to do so if they wish.  

Boris Johnson is to declare an end to most lockdown restrictions from July 19 at a press conference later today

The announcement was welcomed with cautious optimism by Wetherspoons boss, Tim Martin (pictured) who said he would be waiting to see what the government’s plans are when they are published

Mandatory table service rules will also be scrapped, meaning drinkers will be able to order at the bar again in pubs.

Gary Murphy, the manager at the Grade II listed Ye Old Mitre pub in High Barnet, London, was pleased at the news and described current rules on mask wearing in pubs as ‘lunacy’.

Mr Murphy told Mail Online: ‘You’re wearing one to stand up but you take it off to sit down, and staff have to wear one when they’re doing table service – none of those regulations make much sense anyway. I think the general public agree with me there.’

He called for a ‘return to normalcy’ adding: ‘It’s time to end the restrictions and it’s time to let business owners decide what precautions their customers want. That has got to be the way forward.’

Mr Murphy said the current restrictions have put huge pressure on his business to the extent that the pub is ‘barely breaking even’. 

He puts this in part down to the enforcement of table service and the additional staff costs these measures incur. 

His pub, Ye Ole Mitre, dates as far back as 1636 and was built from timbers from old shipwrecks. 

He said: ‘Table service for a wet led drinking pub, which this is, is incredibly onerous. 

Under the new plans expected to be set out, hospitality venues like Ye Old Mitre pub (pictured) will no longer be required to collect track and trace data from July 19

Gary Murphy, the manager at the Grade II listed Ye Old Mitre pub in High Barnet, London, was pleased at the news and described current rules on mask wearing in pubs as ‘lunacy’

‘We need more staff to do sales, there’s a lot of running about, and the banter you usually get at the bar is missing. 

‘It all feels rather clinical. I would imagine most publicans will be looking forward to getting back to bar service, and a lot of customers will to.’

He also said how pub prices have not been upped to reflect the pressure of the restrictions, but if they were to continue, publicans would have to examine their price lists to ensure the future of their businesses.   

Mr Murphy said: ‘Because this has all been a ‘temporary-but-gone-on-forever’ sort of thing we haven’t adjusted our process to reflect table service.

‘But I think if table service was a permanent thing we would have to look at putting prices up by around 15 or 20% because it is very onerous on staffing.

‘Our losses have been massive, and we’re still losing money. We’re barely breaking even now.  

He added: ‘If we think Monday 19th is going to be an instant bounce back to what it was like pre-Covid we’re deluded. 

‘There’s a lot of healing to be done for people whether they were scared or not scared. 

‘It’s going to take time but we must press ahead with the rights of business owners to operate as they see fit instead of the government micro managing us like this.’

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