People in Wales will have to continue wearing masks in some places after the next review of the coronavirus lockdown rules.

Masks will be required on public transport and taxis, as well as health and social care settings, the Welsh Government has announced, in an early indication of ministers' approach to the next stage of lifting restrictions.

Wales is also giving "active further consideration" to whether face masks will be required in shops. The government is due to announce the first results of the next three-week review of the rules on Wednesday.

But the initial announcement suggests ministers are not afraid to set different guidelines from those in England, where Boris Johnson said the legal requirement to wear masks will end there on July 19 along with nearly all restrictions.

Johnson said mask-wearing in England would become a personal choice, but that he would continue to wear one in crowded places and as a matter of courtesy. However, some in Westminster now appear to be tempering expectations for the end of masks.

Earlier today, Johnson's vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News that guidance set out on Monday would say people were expected to wear masks in indoor enclosed spaces, although the legal requirement to do so would be dropped.

“I think it’s important that we remain cautious and careful and the guidelines that we’ll set out tomorrow will demonstrate that, including guidelines that people are expected to wear masks in indoor enclosed spaces," he said.

It comes as UK health secretary Sajid Javid told The Sunday Telegraph anyone who would not wear a mask in an enclosed space was “just being irresponsible”.

In Scotland, the situation is more similar to Wales. Nicola Sturgeon has also signalled a move to alert level zero on July 19 and a planned end of general restrictions by August 9, but masks will continue to be required in some circumstances.


Back in Wales, first minister Mark Drakeford said the continued use of masks was necessary because coronavirus was still circulating.

"We will need everyone’s help to keep coronavirus under control as we continue to respond to the pandemic – this virus has quite certainly not gone away," he said.

"We know many people are still worried and anxious about going out. We will maintain the requirement to wear face coverings in certain places – on public transport and health and social care settings, and others where necessary – to help keep us all safe."

Plaid Cymru said it welcomed the "sensible" decision but urged more "consistency" when it comes to enforcing the restrictions on trains and in other public places.

However, the nature and timing of the Welsh Government's announcement has angered some Senedd members, prompting fresh allegations that ministers are avoiding scrutiny by sharing policy changes with the media before the Welsh Parliament.

Conservative MS Laura Anne Jones said this was "becoming a very bad habit" and "just plain wrong". Labour members Hefin David and Alun Davies also criticised the government's approach to the announcement.

The rules on masks will also be changing in schools. Education minister Jeremy Miles has written to all schools in Wales explaining that wearing face coverings in the classroom will no longer be recommended from September.

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