BORIS Johnson has toughened up the rules on face masks by making them mandatory for staff in pubs, restaurants and shops – and fines for not wearing them will DOUBLE to £200.
Face masks are already compulsory for anyone going into shops, supermarkets, using public transport and leisure venues including cinemas.
The PM said today: “We have reached a perilous turning point
“The latest figures (of new cases) have almost quadrupled.
“Transmission is high or rising exponentially. This is the moment where we must act.”
Mr Johnson continued: “We will extend the requirement to wear face masks for all people who work in retail, taxis and all private hire vehicles, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality.
“Except where seated to eat or drink.”
The new stricter rules have been brought in to try and stop the tide of new infections as a second wave of coronavirus threatens to grip hold of the nation.
Many restaurants and pubs have already given their staff face masks to wear but others have just put up screens over the bar to try and stop the spread of the virus.
Pubs and restaurants will also have a 10pm curfew from Thursday and they will only be able to offer table service.
The PM warned many of the new cases have come from people getting too close to one another in pubs and other social gatherings.
But Mr Johnson has staved off pressure from Cabinet to shut the hospitality industry completely.
Brits who break the rules on face masks can be fined £200.
The new rules add another protocol hospitality venues will have to comply with – or risk being shut down.
The PM warned that businesses could be “fined or closed” if they breach the rules.
They already are expected to ensure everyone who comes in signs the NHS track and trace form in case there is an outbreak.
The planned return of spectators to sports stadiums on October 1 has also been cancelled.
There are mounting fears that social mixing between households inside could be banned after it was outlawed in Northern Ireland.
That seems increasingly likely after the Government’s top scientists’ dire warning that people could be ordered to stay away from family and friends — rules already in place in some parts of the country.
The Covid threat level was raised from three to four yesterday, meaning the virus is running amok across the country — signalling six months of further misery.
Chief medical adviser Chris Whitty warned everyone has a part to play in stopping the disease, insisting: “This is not someone else’s problem, this is all of our problems.”
Masks could even be made compulsory outdoors if the UK follows some of the measures brought in in Europe.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, warned yesterday the nation was on the same track as France and Spain.
In Paris everyone has to wear a face masks at all times – including outdoors.
And most regions of Spain also requires face masks in all public indoor and outdoor areas.