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The End Of Masks?

Freedom Day may see the end of mask-wearing, according to a Government Minister.

Robert Jenrick, the current Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has said that the wearing of masks will be left to the “good judgement” of people.

In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Jenrick hailed the success of the vaccine program in helping the country get back to normal life. He said: “It does look as if – thanks to the success of the vaccine programme – that we now have the scope to roll back those restrictions and return to a normality as far as possible.”

Boris Johnson at one of the Coronavirus Downing Street Press Briefings – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) – Photo by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

He continued by setting the stage for how life post-Freedom Day will be governed: “But we now have to move into a different period where we learn to live with the virus, we take precautions and we as individuals take personal responsibility.”

When asked on Sky News whether he himself would wear a mask if it were no longer mandated, the Minister said that he did not particularly want to wear one. But he added: “We will be moving into a phase where these will be matters of personal choice. So some members of society will want to do so, for perfectly legitimate reasons, but it will be a different period where we as private citizens make these judgements, rather than the Government telling you what to do.”

“Matt Hancock Covid-19 Presser 11/06” by UK Prime Minister is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Mr Jenrick’s remarks come following the change of leadership within the Department of Health. The replacement of Matt Hancock as Health Secretary with Sajid Javid has seen a new optimism with regard to the ending of restrictions.

The new Health Secretary himself said in a column for the Mail on Sunday:

“Amid the endless policy memos and reams of data, I see two immediate challenges.

The first is how we restore our freedoms and learn to live with Covid-19. The second is to tackle the NHS backlog – something that we know is going to get far worse before it gets better.

We are on track for July 19 and we have to be honest with people about the fact that we cannot eliminate Covid.”

The article seems to suggest that the Government will be keeping its commitment to Freedom Day on July 19th.