Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wearing a face mask, talks with paramedic Cindy Fu during a visit to the headquarters of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, July 13, 2020.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wearing a face mask, talks with paramedic Cindy Fu during a visit to the headquarters of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, July 13, 2020.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday it was important to wear face coverings in confined spaces such as shops and added that the government would be making an announcement in the coming days on possible steps to make them mandatory.

Critics have accused Johnson’s government of failing to offer clarity on the mask issue in the days since he began backtracking on previous advice suggesting such coverings were not necessary.

But Johnson says the scientific research is now showing that masks help stop the transmission of COVID-19. Talking to reporters Monday, during a visit to the London Ambulance Service, Johnson said “Just to be absolutely clear, face coverings do have a real value in confined spaces, and I do think the public understand that.”

When pressed on whether it should be mandatory, Johnson said “we will be looking at the guidance, we will be saying a little bit more in the next few days.”

He said he wants to see people who have been working at home for a long time talking to their employers about coming back to work “in a safe way.”

Johnson also suggested British citizens plan “staycations” and take their holidays in the country rather than going overseas. He said he plans to stay within Britain when he takes time off but would not say where he was going.