Some experts have warned that we may need to wear masks and social distance for several more years, until things return to 100% normal. How do you feel about wearing masks for around 5 more years?
Despite the massive success of the UK immunisation rollout, many countries have yet to get started and even our European cousins are lagging way behind us and the United States.
Some scientists are saying that until most of the world has been vaccinated or acquired immunity to Covid-19 Coronavirus, none of us will be safe, therefore wearing masks and keeping our distance may still be required for years to come.
Lifting of lockdown
We have the end of freedom of movement restrictions in our sights, so does wearing masks and social distancing seem like a difficult thing to continue doing?
The UK government and scientific advisors were pretty slow with their recommendation to wear masks in the first place, and it wasn't until almost all European countries and the United States were masking up routinely, that we finally caved in and masked up ourselves.
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The UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance (remember the guy that said it's ok for Cheltenham to go ahead), has suggested that face masks could be needed only in certain situations, such as wintertime if infections begin to rise.
That, however, seems to be the best-case scenario if scientists from around the world are to be believed.
How do face masks help against Covid-19 Coronavirus?
A face mask is a very simple item that is proven to reduce the potential to not only pass on the virus to others in close proximity to you but also can help you from catching the virus from others.
Masks are cheap and easy to come by but there have been many protests against the mandatory requirement to wear them.
Stay safe and leave a space sign on London Underground. All well and good during a lockdown but pretty futile when the economy opens, making masks the only feasible way to mitigate infection transmission.
When and where to wear a face covering by law
The list of places and situations where wearing a face mask in England is mandatory is quite a read. Some of the venues below are not even open at the time of writing this but when they were open mask-wearing was mandatory and may remain so when we emerge from lockdown.
All public transport
All taxis and private hire vehicles
Shops and supermarkets
Shopping centres and indoor markets
Hospitality venues such as bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes (unless outside)
Financial institutions that serve the public
Estate and lettings agents
Hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours
All visitor attractions open to the public
Places of worship
Funeral service providers including crematoria and burial ground chapels
Community, youth and social centres/clubs
Exhibition halls and conference centres
Public areas in hotels and hostels
Storage and distribution facilities
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Penalty for not wearing a mask in designated areas
People who fail to comply with the mask wearing laws on public transport or in an indoor setting can receive a fine of £200, or reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days. Repeat offenders can have their fine doubled at each offence up to the value of £6,400. That's a serious amount of dosh to have to shell out.
Places at high risk of catching or spreading Covid-19
Certainly, public transport is the single most dangerous setting for spreading or catching coronavirus. If you live in London and travel during the rush hour on the tube, you will know what I'm talking about.
Wearing a mask in settings such as public transport is something that potentially could be good for anyone who doesn't want to pick up and nasty lurgies, so there probably won't be much protest against that.
Certainly, freedom from wearing masks will be welcomed by all, so we can finally smile with our teeth again, instead of using our eyes.
It's probably a case of expect the worst and hope for the best. The worst would be wearing masks for the foreseeable future and the best would be that the vaccine gets to work around the world and herd immunity is reached. With low infection rates, it's unlikely that the virus would be able to mutate and emerge with a new variant that puts us all at risk again.
Well done everyone for sticking through the difficult times and we hope a brighter future is on the horizon.
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