UK divided as mask protestors fight for their right to not wear face covering

While the government may have made masks mandatory in shops from July 24, there is still a lot of conflicting advice on how they should be used.

And protestors were out in force last weekend, demonstrating in London against the enforced used of face coverings following the global coronavirus pandemic.

Activists hit Hyde Park marching for their rights to maintain autonomy with signs that read: “I will not be masked, tested, tracked,” and “no mask.”

Organised by Keep Britain Free, the campaigners were keen to stress they hold nothing against those who choose to wear masks, they simply want the choice whether they should as individuals.

[Credit: Free To Use Sounds]

One of the protest organisers, Leah Butler-Smith, said the group are not concerned about people who choose to wear a mask but believe the new regulations are an impingement of civil liberties.

“It is just the fact that people are being told they have no choice about wearing a mask,” she told Sky News.

“Because the Government started out saying ‘there is absolutely no need for a mask’, and many other important scientists have reportedly said the same, it did not make any sense why they suddenly said it was going to be mandated.”

She continued: “If the Government really wants to protect the public and give them more confidence then they should stop trying to use the coercion strategy or to make people scared.”

Asked whether she believes other governments around the world – who are also advising people to wear face masks – Ms Butler-Smith said: “I would believe them if they did not keep changing their mind every five minutes.”

She also said that she had no intention of wearing a mask and would not accept a fine, because it would not be “valid”.

[Credit: Unsplash/Claudio Schwarz]

Members of the public who fail to wear a face mask can be fined up to £100, but the UK Government haven’t exactly been clear when it comes to the rules.

Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that people must wear a mask while visiting a café such a Pret A Manger for a takeaway item – but not if they dine in.

That same day, just hours later, a statement was released saying that in fact masks would not be mandatory in cafés at all.

[Credit: Twitter @TweetOnLondon]

The government website declares that “the evidence suggests that face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease from someone who is suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms”.

Their statement continues: “That is why it is important to wear a face covering on public transport and it is required by law.

“From 24 July, it will be mandatory to wear face coverings in shops and in supermarkets.”

They do not cite what evidence source they are using, nor specify whether face coverings must be worn in pubs or restaurants.

While this would of course be challenging, given the nature of constantly fiddling with one to remove and replace it to drink and eat, it is easy to see why there is confusion.

For up-to-date info, visit UK Government.

Stay safe, folks!