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Sky News host Kay Burley repeatedly urged Business Secretary Alok Sharma to clear up the confusion around the Government’s face mask policies. This comes after questions were raised about exactly where face coverings would need to be worn by shoppers in England after cabinet ministers were seen with and without masks buying takeaway food this week. In an awkward exchange, Mr Sharma desperately tried to clear up the confusion, prompting Burley to fire back.
Burley said: “Business Secretary once and for all. If I go into Pret A Manger a week on Friday to pick up a coffee, do I need to wear a mask or not?”
Mr Sharma responded: “It won’t be compulsory but we certainly encourage it.”
When Burley asked when Health Secretary Matt Hancock was “wrong” in his advice yesterday, Mr Sharma said: “The Health Secretary said you are not required to wear one if you are sitting down and having a meal.”
Burley hit back: “That’s not what I said. No, I said if I just need to nip in to get a sandwich and I asked whether I need to whether a mask and you said no I don’t.”
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Mr Sharma said: “I said it is recommended and I hope I’ve provided the clarification at this juncture.”
This left Kay Burley to awkwardly respond: “I don’t think you have, so let’s just go for it once more.
“The Health Secretary said I do need to wear it. No 10 said I don’t. Can you give me the definitive answer?”
Mr Sharma said it was “encouraged,” as Burley asked whether it was “legally binding” or not.
The Business Secretary said it was legally binding for those entering shops or supermarkets from next week.
Burley said: “You can see why people are confused, can’t you?”
Mr Sharma insisted that face masks will be recommended in takeaway sandwich shops, but will not be compulsory.
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Matt Hancock has added that there are no plans to make face coverings mandatory for office workers in England.
He said: “It is something we’ve looked at and rejected.”
Face coverings in shops will become mandatory in England on 24 July.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules on wearing face coverings in England’s shops will face a fine of up to £100.
Children under 11, those with certain disabilities, and people working in shops will be exempt.
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