Expectations regarding the use of face masks in public will remain largely unchanged, even if the legal requirement ends on Monday – the public will simply have to use “common sense.”
Mr Johnson said the government would continue to recommend that they be worn in confined and overcrowded spaces, on buses and trains, and indoors where ventilation is poor.
“We expect and recommend that people wear face coverings in crowded, enclosed spaces where you come into contact with those you don’t normally meet, such as on public transport,” he added.
They will not be required in environments such as nightclubs, although these are deemed to be high risk, as these places will be encouraged to deploy other mitigation measures such as certification of Covid status.
This marks a noticeable cooling in Mr Johnson’s language last week, when he suggested wearing the mask “would depend on the circumstances.”
Since then, a number of ministers have also made conflicting statements on whether they will continue to wear masks, while Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has backed Transport for London’s decision to require passengers to continue to wear masks.
“As we move from a legal requirement to guidelines, we expect individual operators to make sure they put everything in place that is appropriate for their network,” he told Sky News on the 14th. July.
“The airlines have already said that you will have to continue to wear masks on these. It is very much what we expected – and indeed wanted – to happen.”
Sports fans will also be required to wear a face mask during sporting events, as well as to present a Covid passport, from July 19.
As part of hastily put together plans, the government will release sports advice this week ahead of their return to full capacity, after Boris Johnson revealed high-traffic sites would be urged to adopt Covid certification – proof of vaccination complete or proof of a negative test – “as a matter of social responsibility”.
The use of passports and Covid masks – an exception could be made for outdoor events – will not be mandatory, but it is unthinkable for sports to ignore advice, given their duty of care to participants.
Meanwhile, it emerged on Monday that masks will become optional for members of the House of Commons from next week, but parliamentary staff will still be required to wear one.
A spokesperson for House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said Parliament was unable to impose masks on MPs because it had no “employment or contractual relationship” with them.
Ministers and officials from three ministries are able to avoid self-isolation after being quietly invited to join a special pilot program that allows them to take daily tests and return to work, the Telegraph can reveal.