Sadiq Khan has called for the government to make face coverings mandatory in all stores, after they were made compulsory on all English public transport networks yesterday.
The mayor of London said he welcomed the “U-turn from the government” on making coverings compulsory on public transport, but said it should go further.
Non-essential retail shops are set to re-open on 15 June, after the government moved to ease the coronavirus lockdown further two weeks ago.
Outdoor car showrooms and outdoor markets were opened last week.
Speaking to BBC today, Khan said: “Why not also make [face coverings] mandatory particularly in those confined spaces – public transport is one, shops are another – where you may inadvertently pass the virus on or inadvertently catch it?
“Why not err on the side of caution?”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said at yesterday’s press briefing that people will not be able to use English public transport networks without a face covering and that fines would be given for non-compliance.
He stressed that people should not wear surgical face masks, but instead should use coverings made out of cloth and other materials.
Transport workers and British Transport Police will monitor the new law, according to the transport secretary.
When asked about expanding the rule to other public spaces, Shapps said it would not be necessary.
Speaking to Sky News today, he said: “If you are in shop, you are unlikely to be stood next to somebody for 10 minutes or longer.
“The big difference is that on public transport you are likely to be there for a long period of time…10 minutes, 20 minutes, even half an hour.”
“There is quite a big difference between the two.”
The government has been criticised by some, including Khan, for not making face coverings mandatory earlier on public transport.
Shapps said today that public transport had not been busy enough to warrant the change and that they only provided “marginal and perhaps incremental assistance”
“Certainly, it is not a silver bullet thing to do… but you’re protecting those around you, so it is quite a public spirited, altruistic thing to do,” he said.