UK 'given up on face masks on transport' says bus driver

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Asked if the policy from Monday is a “total shambles”, the Communities Secretary replied: “No, I don’t accept that. As a result of the vaccine rollout we are able to move into a new phase and that’s one where we all exercise our own personal judgment. But also businesses and those people who are operating public transport networks, for example, will also make judgments about what is right for their settings.”

The latest guidance says shoppers in England will be expected to wear masks, and table service should continue in pubs and bars. Neither will be a legal requirement.

The move has been widely criticised by trade unions and employers, with ministers accused of sending “mixed messages”.

Dr Roger Barker, of the Institute of Directors, said firms are “understandably confused”. The TUC said it is a “recipe for chaos and rising infections”.

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Tesco, Asda and Waitrose have become the latest retailers to say they will encourage customers and shop workers to wear masks.

The police will also still don them and coverings are expected on some city’s public transport.

Under Public Health England’s guidelines, face shields will still be needed in hospitals, GP surgeries, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies.

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