Compulsory face masks are set to be scrapped on 19 July as England sheds its Covid restrictions, according to communities secretary Robert Jenrick.
Jenrick said “the state won’t be telling you what to do” after 19 July and that face masks will be a “matter of personal choice”.
It comes as the Sunday Times reported today that people will also no longer need to scan QR codes to enter venues and that social distancing will also be scrapped.
Speaking to Sky News, Jenrick said: “Like many people, I want to get away from these restrictions as quickly as I possibly can and we don’t want them to stay in place for a day longer than is necessary.
“I think we are going to now move into a period where there won’t be legal restrictions, the state won’t be telling you what to do, but you will want to exercise a degree of personal responsibility and judgment – different people will come to different conclusions on things like masks, for example.
“The Prime Minister will set out more detail on the national policy on some of those restrictions in the coming days.”
Jenrick said that he would choose not to wear a mask when restrictions are eased in just over two weeks’ time.
“I don’t particularly want to wear a mask. I don’t think a lot of people enjoy doing it,” he said.
Boris Johnson will officially outline the next stage of the coronavirus roadmap next week, with the expectation that he will remove close to all Covid restrictions.
This will mean mass events, house parties and standing up at hospitality venues will be allowed.
It is unclear if the government’s work from home advice will be dropped, however ministers have previously indicated they will leave this up to employers.
A Downing Street source told the Times: “We believe it is now time for the public to start learning to live with Covid.
“All the data and scientific modelling suggests that the lifting of restrictions will lead to a rise in cases but — with the continued success of the vaccine rollout and the break in the link between hospitalisations and deaths — we are confident there will be no risk of it putting significant additional pressure on the NHS.”