First outdoor space in Britain to legally enforce masks will fine people £50 for not wearing them
LONDON'S Borough Market today became Britain's first outdoor space where people can be fined for not wearing a mask.
Customers and stall holders can be penalised £50 for not masking up at the central London food and drink market.
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London Mayor Sadiq Khan has previously demanded masks are made compulsory in crowded outdoor spaces as the capital is hit hard by a mutant Covid strain.
Current guidance says people don't need to wear masks in busy outdoor public spaces.
But Borough Market has it own set of bylaws and can enforce its new rule.
It comes as Boris Johnson today warned he may have to tighten lockdown rules again to stop the virus spreading even further.
It's thought face coverings could be made compulsory in busy public places such as supermarket queues.
Kate Howell, director of development at Borough Market, told ITV: "Whilst we’ve done everything we can to politely encourage people to wear masks and keep to social distancing and keep the space safe, now is the time to really show our intent.
"We’ve got to a stage where we feel as responsible landlords that, actually given we do have these bylaws, in our reckoning that we’re able to say, ‘We’re going to make this mandatory’.”
She added: “We’re open as an essential retailer but we want to keep it safe for everybody.”
Britain's death toll rose by more than 500 yesterday to 81,431, with more than 50,000 cases recorded again, taking the overall total to 3,072,349.
Last Friday, Mr Khan declared a "major incident" in the capital as the spread of Covid threatened to overwhelm London's hospitals.
Shocking figures show around one in 15 people in Barking and Dagenham has the virus, the worst infection rate in the UK.
The London Ambulance Service (LAS), which normally handles about 5,000 calls a day, is being hit by 8-9,000.
This morning, the government's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said people should now consider wearing masks in crowded outdoor areas.
He told the BBC: "If people for example are crowded together in a queue outdoors, if they're really huddled together round a market stall or something – that is a risk with this virus – and in that situation there might be some logic to people thinking about wearing masks.”
Some European countries have already made masks outdoors mandatory, including Italy, Spain and parts of France.
Today, supermarket Morrisons says it will ban shoppers who don't wear masks unless they are medically exempt.
And it's thought even tougher nationwide rules could soon be rolled out here with Mr Whitty warning the "worst weeks" of the Covid storm are still to come.
Speaking at a vaccination centre in the South West today, the Prime Minister: "We are going to keep the rules under constant review. Where we have to tighten them, we will.
“But we have rules in place which, if properly followed, we believe can make a huge, huge difference."
Earlier, Wales's health minister said people should wear face masks in outdoor public places.
Vaughan Gething today called for people to wear masks whenever they leave their home as coronavirus cases have continued to soar.
One government source told The Telegraph last week: "There's not a lot more that we can do.
"We've put in these very tough national restrictions.
"It is a lockdown for everyone all the time."
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