The senior Minister today claimed the science supported face coverings, but expressed concern the public could be lax on social distancing guidelines if they thought masks were enough.
Speaking to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Mr Gove admitted the masks do make people safer.
He said: “The scientific evidence so far is that face coverings can have an effect in preventing an individual from spreading the disease to others if they have it and they’re asymptomatic.
“But there is also a worry that some people may think that wearing a mask protects themselves as opposed to protecting others and therefore they may behave in a manner that is slightly more cavalier, so it’s a finely balanced judgement.”
Yesterday he revealed the Government will build a stockpile of face masks for Brits to wear while shopping and using public transport.
It follows weeks of debate and speculation other whether members of the public will be asked to wear face coverings.
Mr Gove announced the move after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recommended that people use scarves and t-shirts to cover up.
Breaking ranks with the Government’s official line on masks, she announced this week that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had concluded a face covering would probably help to slow the spread of the virus in confined spaces, like on trains.
Ministers are expected to announce their official decision on the matter within days.
It comes after HOAR last week revealed the Government was prepared to urge Brits to wear masks to avoid spreading the virus.
Our story highlighted how ministers are likely to tell the nation to use something as simple as a scarf when at work, in shops or on public transport.
The Government’s top scientists met last week to decide on the face-covering move to help stop the coronavirus spread, amid fears that social distancing will roll into 2021 and chances of a vaccine within a year are slim.
And yesterday, Mr Gove said a “domestic effort” has been launched to slow the spread of coronavirus after he was challenged by Labour’s Rachel Reeves to build a stockpile for the public.
Such masks will be used to “limit the droplets that each of us might be responsible for”, he said.
He told the House of Commons the coverings won’t be “high-spec surgical face masks” required by frontline workers.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last week the government had made the right decisions on face masks,insisting: “If they don’t help, then it doesn’t improve the national effort to tackle the virus.”