How long will face masks be required in England?
10 May 2021, 10:28 | Updated: 10 May 2021, 14:58
When will we be able to stop wearing face masks in England and when will the government review them? Here's what we know.
People in England have been required to wear face coverings in certain settings for most of the coronavirus pandemic.
Unless you are exempt, it is mandatory to wear face masks in places like public transport and shops - and you face a fine of up to £200 for refusing to do so.
We currently don't know how long face masks will be required in England, and some experts have said that we should continue to wear them after legal limits on social contact have been lifted.
Here's what we know about their future...
When can we stop wearing face masks?
We currently don't know when the law on face masks will be changed, but the government is set to review them before step four of lockdown-lifting.
Step four is due to be introduced on June 21 earliest, and it will see all legal limits on social contact removed.
This will effectively mark the end of lockdown, as all restrictions should be lifted by that date.
The government states in the roadmap: "The results of the review will help inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which rules on one metre plus, face masks and other measures may be lifted.
"The review will also inform guidance on working from home – people should continue to work from home where they can until this review is complete."
When announcing his roadmap in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said of the possible June 21 date: “We will aim to remove [all legal limits] on weddings and other life events.
“We will reopen everything up to and including nightclubs and enable large events such as theatre performances above the limits of step three – potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection.
"Our journey back towards normality will be subject to resolving a number of key questions and to do this we will conduct four reviews.
"One will assess how long we need to maintain social distancing and face masks."
However, we don't know for sure whether the rules on face masks will be lifted in June - with many experts stating that we should continue to wear them after lockdown.
The Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, previously suggested that masks could be used to help with tackling the virus in winter.
He told Sky News: "It’s more likely to be that we wear masks in certain places, that we are continuing with hand washing, making sure that we are sensible about the way in which we interact with people in indoor environments.
"I would be very surprised if we go in year-on-year with needing to do more things than that.
"But this coming winter, I think we need to wait and see how far we get on with the current reduction in numbers that needs to occur."