Face masks may not be required indoors over summer - according to Deputy Chief Medical Officer

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 12:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2021, 12:13 pm
Face masks may not be required in indoor spaces during the summer months, a Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England has said (Photo: Shutterstock)

Face masks may not be required in indoor spaces during the summer months, a Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England has said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown earlier this week, with the aim of lifting all restrictions by 21 June.

In regards to the continuation of wearing face masks indoors, Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, told a Downing Street press conference that this may not be the case during the summer months.

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However, she added that they may be needed during the autumn and winter months.

When asked if face masks will still be mandated indoors in public places after 21 June, Dr Harries said: “One of the things we know, of course, is doing things outside is ever so much safer than doing things inside – ventilation, we know, is really important.

“As we get into the autumn, when winter comes in and we spend more time inside, then again we may be looking at it, Dr Harries added.

“But it’s quite possible over summer months, as we did last year when we see rates drop, that we would not need to be wearing masks all that time.

“Summer period is generally, we think, a much safer period for us with less need for interventions, but I think that doesn’t rule it out as we go into winter periods again.”

What about social distancing?

The advice on social distancing will be updated “as soon as possible” and no later than 17 May, which means friends and family may be allowed to finally hug each other again.

Addressing social distancing at the Downing Street press conference, Dr Harries said that children should continue socially distancing from their grandparents until the impact of the vaccination rollout programme is fully known.

"Having got so far down the line with this and now on the roadmap, very, very carefully coming out, I would encourage children not to go off yet, even if their grandparents have had their vaccinations," Dr Harries said.

"Not to go hugging them too much until we're absolutely sure what the impact of that vaccine rollout has been.

"I'm sure it's going to be positive but we just need to take a steady course through the roadmap."