Health Minister says people should consider keeping face masks on between shops

The Health Minister has said people should consider keeping their masks on in public places if they are "out and about".

Vaughan Gething MS said he believed it would be "easier" not to remove a face covering when moving in between essential shops to protect against coronavirus.

On Monday, Mr Gething told the Welsh Government's press briefing that it was now "more important than ever" to follow hygiene advice as he pledged to speed up Wales' rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations.

He said it included keeping a distance from others, washing hands often, maintaining good ventilation and air circulation indoors, adding: "And if we do have to go out, wearing a face mask when we're in public places."

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Face masks are compulsory on public transport, in shops and indoor spaces in Wales with the exception for people with health conditions and hidden disabilities who are exempt.

Asked if he was recommending people wear face masks in all outdoor public spaces, Mr Gething said: "No, because we should be socially distanced from other people.

"But this is about the recognition that when you're going out and about in the public, when you're going into indoor spaces if you're doing a food shop, if you're going into places that you can go, then it's a reminder for people to wear a face mask while you're doing that.

"I see a number of people who have them as I go into different parts of the town that I live in, because you're going into one shop and into another.

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"If you're going to more than one to do your essential business, then it's easier for somebody to keep their face coverings on."

He added: "There isn't a change in the general advice that we're providing. But this is part of what we can all do to protect ourselves to maintain our defence to wear a face covering where possible I think reinforcing that message is a good thing."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said Mr Gething's comments were not a change in Welsh Government guidance, which states: "Wearing face coverings outdoors, where transmission of the virus is low, is not recommended, unless in a situation where social distancing of two metres is impossible."