This week, senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove said that despite face masks being compulsory on public transport, wearing a mask or face covering while visiting the shops would not be a mandatory requirement.

After weeks of mixed messages, the Government has now announced it will soon be mandatory to wear a face covering in supermarkets and other shops in England.

With the Government’s website stating there is no evidence to suggest that wearing a face covering protects you, but could provide protection for others, we asked our readers what they thought about the idea.

Lancashire Telegraph:

One online reader said: “I’m happy to wear one, no matter how small the reduction in risk is by wearing one.

“It’s not a drama to wear one, so why not.

“Especially taking into account that the claims that it reduces your blood O2 levels or makes it difficult to breath have been debunked.”

While another user said: “Wearing masks on transport, shops and public places should be compulsory as it does help you to not infect others and save lives.

“Make masks mandatory in all public places as it can curb transmission of the novel coronavirus.

“Wearing face masks is mandatory in public places in many countries so why not in UK?"

Lancashire Telegraph:

Blackburn with Darwen Council is advising that people wear a face covering in all enclosed public spaces.

LATEST: Compulsory face coverings in Lancashire - everything you need to know

Over on Facebook, there was conflicting opinion.

Ben Shorrock said: “They should be compulsory. It’s a matter of weeks away from Blackburn being locked down.”

Amanda Webber wrote: “I feel better seeing more people wearing them as it prevents people coughing and sneezing in my general direction.”

Martyn Mascord commented: “Bit pointless when most people don’t know how to wear them properly and end up adjusting them all the time which makes them touch their face ten times more than they would.

“Saw someone the other week at Tesco wearing one around the store while they were nowhere near anyone but then when they got in the queue for the till they took it off.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

But Laura Sanderson said: “No. Masks do not stop viruses. If it was scientifically based and involved using proper precautions the government would insist on a certain mask type with particular standards.

“If a bandana can be used you know it’s rubbish.”

And Amy Humphrey commented: “Absolutely not. If people want to wear them, then do so but to make them compulsory. No way.”

While Kristina Simms thought there was no point.

She said: “No. What’s the point if people can go in pubs and restaurants without one?”

And Paul Feldwicke added: “Highstreet is struggling big time as it is, last nail in the coffin. A big nope from me.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Many users were also worried about the effects of wearing a face mask for prolonged periods on their existing health conditions, such as COPD or asthma.

Jo Savage wrote: “I’m severely asthmatic, and I’ve learned the hard way I cannot breathe properly with a mask on.

“I’ve tried different materials, everything you can think of.

“Thankfully I don’t venture into shops very often but it is a concern. Any ideas kindly welcomed.”

And Helen Marie Hart , who has COPD said: “I cannot breath with a mask on so my life matters first, so for me I won’t wear a mask and if I was told to I just wouldn’t go in that shop.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

On the government website, advice on wearing face masks states: “Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you.

“However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.

“Face coverings do not replace social distancing.

“If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, and/or high temperature, and/or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste - anosmia), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this.

“You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.

“A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment.

“These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings, like those exposed to dust hazards.”