The minister for the Cabinet Office was spotted not wearing a mask in a Westminster branch of the lunch chain on Monday, the day after No 10 announced it would be made compulsory to wear one from July 24.
Mr Gove said on Sunday wearing face coverings shouldn’t be made mandatory in shops, but thought the Government could trust the ‘intelligence’ of the British public to wear one when necessary.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he said: ‘I don’t think [they should be] mandatory no, but I would encourage people to wear a face mask where they are inside, in an environment where they are likely to be mixing with others and where the ventilation may not be good.
‘I think it is basic good manners, courtesy and consideration to wear a face mask if you are, for example, in a shop.’
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He added: ‘I trust people’s good sense. Of course, the government at all times does look at the emerging evidence about what the best way to control the disease is. If necessary, if tough measures are required, like we’ve seen in Leicester, then tough measures will be taken.
‘My view is it is always better to trust people’s common sense, to give them a clear sense of what is wise and I think individuals and businesses are responding well to that lead.’
Mr Gove also confirmed his stance in conversation with Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
Asked if the government’s advice on face coverings was confusing, he replied: ‘I think that people are intelligent. I think that people can understand this is a novel virus with specific challenges. There are appropriate moments of course when a direct message to say to people “don’t do X” or “do do Y” is appropriate.
‘But I also think it’s right to treat the British people with the respect that their intelligence and their judgement deserves. In this case, one of the things that I think is right to say: Outside, you don’t need to wear a face mask. Inside, particularly in a closed space with poor ventilation, it is absolutely a good idea.’
Metro.co.uk has contacted Michael Gove’s office for comment.
Speaking in the Commons today, health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed coverings over the nose and mouth would become mandatory inside shops and supermarkets in England from a week on Friday. He stated that the nation ‘must keep our shopkeepers safe’ and work together to regain public confidence going into stores.
He continued: ‘In recent weeks we have re-opened retail and footfall is rising. We want to give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protection for those who work in shops. Both of these can be done by the use of face coverings.
‘Sadly sales assistants, cashiers and security guards have suffered disproportionately in this crisis. The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher amongst men and 60% higher amongst women than in the general population.’
Anyone who does not follow the guidance could face a fine of up to £100, and shop staff can refuse entry to people not wearing face masks and even call the police on those who do not comply with the new rules.
Children under the age of 11 and those with certain disabilities are exempt, while the liability to wear a mask lies with the individual.
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