Covid-19 - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:49 pm on 15th July 2021.

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Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 1:49 pm, 15th July 2021

My Lords, I will be crystal clear on this matter. The noble Baroness is right: the wearing of masks is important—for yourself and other people— which is why the Government continue to recommend that people wear them. However, the question was about mandation, and, as I said earlier, it is not reasonable for the Government to mandate minute aspects of our life in perpetuity. We have made a decision on that and passed the responsibility to individuals, local leaders and those who do outbreak management. I completely understand and hear loud and clear people’s concerns, but, were we to mandate it, what is the option for the country? Are we going to issue tens of millions of fines to those who do not wear masks? If they do not wear them, will we lock them up in prison? We tried extremely hard on that policy, but I am not sure whether it had any further rope to run.