Face masks will be mandatory when buying takeaways from cafés and restaurants in England

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Face masks will be mandatory when buying takeaways from cafés and restaurants

Related tags: Coronavirus, Restaurant, Takeaway

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has said it will be compulsory for people to wear face masks when buying takeaway food and drink from cafés or restaurants in England.

Face masks are set to become mandatory in shops and supermarkets across England from tomorrow (24 July), with anyone failing to comply liable to face a fine of up to £100.

However, until today (23 July) the Government had failed to clarify whether people would have to wear masks when entering cafés or restaurants to buy and collect takeaway food. 

Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, Lewis said: "If you are going into a takeaway and you are eating in somewhere that's got a takeaway, then that is like hospitality - you are eating, it's not practical to wear a face mask, we recognise that.

"But if you are going in to buy a product and leaving again, then you are treating it like a shop and you should be wearing a face mask."

When pushed for further clarity, Lewis explained: "If you going into an outlet, even if they have got areas you can sit and eat - if you are eating at the outlet, then obviously you don't need a face mask.

"But if you are buying your sandwich, or whatever it is, and leaving again, you're treating it like a shop and you should be wearing a face mask."

Since the announcement came earlier this month that face masks would become mandatory in England, there has been significant criticism levelled at the Government over a lack of clarity on what spaces they will or will not be compulsory in.

Indeed Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, said Lewis' comments contradicted what the industry had previously been told by the Government and it was "very late in the day" for this to be confirmed.

"It's really unhelpful to have that confusion because the single biggest thing we need now is to rebuild consumer confidence and that needs clear, unambiguous messaging," she told BBC Breakfast.

Questions also remain as to how staff in cafés and restaurants offering both takeaway and eat in will be expected to police these new rules.

BigHospitality ​has contacted the Government for further clarification regarding this matter.

Related topics: Legislation

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