Speaker Lindsay Hoyle orders MPs to wear masks ‘all the time’ in House of Commons
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Sir Lindsay suggested the exception should be when MPs are called to speak. People on the parliamentary estate have been encouraged to wear masks in recent months, although the Speaker’s words go a step further in pressing MPs to wear a face-covering in the chamber. The number of MPs on the floor of the House has been limited to 50 during the COVID-19 pandemic, with others contributing virtually via Zoom.
Opening business, Sir Lindsay told the Commons: “Can I just say to members, wherever possible please try and wear masks all the time, apart from obviously when we’re speaking.
“So please bear that in mind.”
Most MPs could be seen wearing masks during housing, communities and local government questions.
Previously, debates had been carried out without requiring masks to be worn.
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His comments come as Boris Johnson warned that tougher lockdown measures may be needed as he announced that around 2.4 million vaccines for Covid-19 have now been put in people’s arms.
The Prime Minister stressed “now is the moment for maximum vigilance” amid increasing calls for tougher lockdown restrictions as case rates soar in several parts of the country.
During a visit to a vaccine centre in Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol, the Prime Minister said: “We’re going to keep the rules under constant review.
“Where we have to tighten them, we will.
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“We have rules in place already which, if they are properly followed, we believe can make a huge, huge difference.
“It’s now that people need to focus… when they’re out shopping, whether they’re buying cups of coffee in the park or whatever it happens to be, they need to think about spreading the disease.”
Mr Johnson said that “more important than us just pushing out new rules”, people should follow existing guidance.
“In supermarkets, people need to be keeping their distance, making sure that they’re wearing masks, doing the right thing.
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“We need to enforce the rules in supermarkets. When people are getting takeaway drinks, in cafes, then they need to avoid spreading the disease there, avoid mingling too much.
“Now is the moment for maximum vigilance, maximum observance of the rules.
“Of course, if we feel that things are not being properly observed then we may have to do more.”
Turning to vaccines, the Prime Minister said roughly 40 percent of the 80-year-olds in the UK have now been vaccinated, with around 23 percent of the elderly residents of care homes having been inoculated.
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