PEOPLE will have to wear face masks in cafes and coffee shops where there is no table service – including Pret a Manger.
Matt Hancock said this morning if customers are going to the counter to pay for food then they will have to cover up.
But if customers are sitting down to eat, they will be able to take their mask off once they have bought their food.
Mr Hancock told Sky News this morning: “You do need to wear a face mask in Pret because Pret is a shop – in hospitality, there needs to be table service.
“If there’s table service, it is not necessary to have a mask. But in any shop, you do need the mask.
“So, if you’re going up to the counter in Pret to buy takeaway that is a shop, but if you go to your local pub you can’t go to the bar.”
“The reason is because of the risk of transmission over the bar.”
The new rules will make face masks compulsory from July 24 in England and people will face a £100 fine if they fail to comply.
Face masks will not required in offices, Mr Hancock said, because it is generally the same group of people all sitting in one place – so social distancing is the best method to stop transmission.
He said: “The reason for that is when you are in close proximity with somebody who you have to work closely with, if you are there for a long time then a mask does not offer that protection, as opposed to a shop or public transport when you are with someone for a reasonable amount of time.
“The point is when you are in interaction with people you aren’t normally with, that’s when the mask is particularly helpful.”
Government guidance already advises people to wear masks where they are indoors and unable to social distance but yesterday Michael Gove was spotted leaving a Pret without a mask.
Mr Hancock said the photo was taken before the policy was formally announced.
But Liz Truss, another Cabinet minister, sported a blue mask coming out of the same Pret in Westminster.
People could also be banned from entering shops if they do not have a mask and Mr Hancock urged shops to call the police if people enter without one.
He said masks help keep down asymptomatic transmission of the virus.
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