Matt Hancock has said Freedom Day will not be delayed beyond July 19 and face mask laws will be scrapped.

The Health Secretary's comments come after Boris Johnson confirmed lockdown would not end on June 21 as planned.

The Prime Minister confirmed lockdown measures and restrictions would last beyond June 21.

But now the Health Secretary confirmed that covid regulations and laws would be extended until midnight on July 18.

The Argus: Supermarket shoppers are still meant to be wearing face masks in storesSupermarket shoppers are still meant to be wearing face masks in stores

Mr Hancock told MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon: "The regulations themselves, we put this pause in affect by amending the expiry date, so they expire at midnight on the evening of 18 July.

"We also need to align the dates on several other Covid regulations which are essential for keeping us safe... for face coverings on public transport, the regulations which give powers to manage local outbreaks... and the regulations that give local authorities the powers to enforce Covid secure measures for businesses.

"These will all be extended until midnight on the 18 July.

"We don't want to extend these regulations a day longer than we have to."


Johnson said at a news conference Monday evening that he thought it was sensible to wait just a little longer.

“As things stand, and on the evidence that I can see right now. I’m confident that we will not need more than four weeks,” he told reporters.

New figures from Public Health England indicate that 42,323 cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus have now been confirmed across the UK, an increase of 240 per cent from last week, while the country’s transmission rate is at its highest since January.

What are the current rules for wearing face masks?

The Government has advised the public to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces, like shops, where they will be with people they would not usually meet, since May 11.

The full list includes:

  • Supermarkets and shops
  • Banks and building societies
  • Transport hubs, including train stations and terminals, airports, ports, bus and coach stations or terminals
  • Post Offices
  • Sandwich shops
  • Takeaways 
  • Places of worship 
  • Schools (secondary school children and staff)
  • Taxis
  • Private vehicle hire
  • Funeral service providers

Children under 11 years old, those with "certain disabilities" and emergency workers are exempt.

Other people exempt are:

  • An employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
  • A constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty
  • An emergency response member of staff, such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty
  • An official such as a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties
  • If you are on board public transport but remain in your own vehicle, such as a car ferry