The UK has been a world leader in fighting COVID-19 through sensible health regulations, including wearing facemasks. While the facemask requirement is slated to be retired on July 19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised a return of restrictions if the virus is not kept under control. What does that mean in terms of keeping a healthy stock of facemasks?
Facemask Opinions Vary
The answer to that question is anybody’s guess. Some health experts believe that facemasks should be mandated well into 2022. Others feel strongly that lifting the facemask regulations should be a fluid process, changing to the ebb and flow of the battle against COVID-19.
Of course, many politicians and business owners feel the mandate should be lifted yesterday.
How then when so many have such different opinions can a responsible organisation please customers while safeguarding the public and employees? The answer to that is to use common sense and pay attention to what the authorities are mandating as opposed to what some are saying.
Most politicians cede that the policy of a business or organisation should be left up to that business or organisation. Much of that is driven by customer desires, which, depending on the customer base in question, can vary widely.
The UK has generally lagged the rest of the world as it pertains to members of the public wearing facemasks.
Some refuse to wear a facemask when required now. Others refuse to wear one unless the need is obvious (say while taking public transport.) Still, others think the restrictions should stay the same or even become more stringently enforced.
The powers that be in UK politics are split as well. The Prime Minister has stated his preference for wearing facemasks in public to be a “personal choice.” It should be noted Johnson, who contracted the virus himself, has been cautious about virus restrictions and has advocated that public policy errs on the side of personal choice and responsibility.
The Deputy Director of Public Health England, Dr. Susan Hopkins, has stated her preference that mask requirements be extended beyond the July 19 “Freedom Day,” when most COVID-19-based restrictions are lifted.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has stated that masks must be worn through July 18. That would mean on July 19, facemasks will no longer be required on public transport, although businesses and other organisations are free to make and enforce their own policies.
All agree on one thing: If there is a dramatic resurgence of COVID-19 cases, restrictions will be put back into place. Whether a “resurgence” means something similar to the current increase in cases due to new COVID variants or even what criteria counts towards a resurgence determination, remains to be seen.
Proceed with Caution
All that leads to this: Restrictions, including facemask regulations, are set to be done away with, but some private and public interests will likely continue to mandate the use of facemasks for customers to do business.
Those groups will also likely follow the government’s lead, but only after a period for the new policy to take hold. They will not if a dramatic resurgence occurs or if a particularly virulent variant emerges.
What does that mean for the average UK citizen, business or organisation? The smart move is to stay well-stocked with facemasks, at least through the end of the year.
If that is you, contact Face Masks UK today to order your next batch.