40% of Britons want face masks to stay forever, poll finds

A new poll has revealed that a significant chunk of the British public want certain COVID-19 restrictions, like mask wearing to become a permanent part of life.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos MORI for the Economist on Thursday found that nearly 70% want to see face masks made compulsory on public transport and shops, even after July 19th, the date Prime Minister Boris Johnston has set for the lifting of most coronavirus restrictions in England. A further 64% of respondents indicated that they wanted such restrictions to remain in place until coronavirus is being controlled on a global level.

When asked about which restrictions should remain permanently despite the ever falling COVID risk, 19% said they supported nighttime curfews, 26% supported closing clubs and casinos, just over a third were in favour of retaining a quarantine period for travellers and 40% supported the current face mask rules. Equally around 41% oppose the restrictions all together in the long run. 

Perhaps one of the main issues raised by the poll is wether a majority of the  British public really support Johnston’s lockdown lifting. When posed this question, Gordon Skinner, the head of political research at Ipsos MORI said that the poll shows support for most of the current restrictions. “More people define themselves as supporters of the restrictions than opponents, and only a minority believe that the rules have been too strict.”

Skinner went on to say that “While support for restrictions tends to be stronger among older age groups, that age difference disappears when we ask about support for restrictions remaining in place permanently. If anything, older groups actually become more opposed,” On July 19th almost all restrictions are set to change. Face masks will no longer be compulsory in all settings, instead the public will be told to exercise their own personal judgement and common sense.

In a bid to help the struggling hospitality sector all businesses which are currently closed such as nightclubs will be allowed to reopen without any caps on capacity, there will be no requirement to scan a QR code when entering a restaurant, gym, or any other venue, and businesses will no longer be required to collect customers’ contact tracing details, although they may choose to do so if they wish.

On Thursday the UK hit a overall total of 5 million COVID-19 cases, meaning it ranks seventh globally behind the United States, India, Brazil, Russia, France and Turkey. As of today a further 32,367 people tested positive bringing the weekly total to 213,528, a further 34 deaths were recorded bringing the weekly total to 192. 



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