James Explains The Mask Situation In The UK


Although Raphael is wearing a mask, it is the wrong kind of mask. However Raphael is a mutant turtle and consequently may not be affected by coronavirus.

It is officially mandatory to wear face-masks in some places in the UK as of today. It was already mandatory to wear them on public transport but previously it was not necessary to wear them in shops. According to ‘man of the people’ Michael Gove, it was basic good manners to wear them in shops, but there was no need to make it obligatory. Michael Gove did not, however, deem it good manners to wear a mask in Pret-A-Manger, which is now also mandatory, unless you’re eating in, in which case it isn’t mandatory, presumably because the mask might get in the way of the actual eating. But if you’re taking your food away, as Mr Gove was, then you will have to wear a mask. But not because it’s good manners, because it definitely isn’t good manners to wear a mask in Pret-A-Manger. But it is now the law or something. I mean I don’t think the law, if it is a law, actually specifies Pret-A-Manger. Unless Matt Hancock has shares in Pret-A-Manger. Then it probably is mentioned by name. But other sandwich shops are available. And some of them might even be better. Given that most of the Government seem to have been pictured in Pret-A-Manger this week, all wearing a mask, including, belatedly, Mr Gove, who has clearly been told to get ‘on message’, then I’d be considering venturing into another sandwich shop just to avoid them. Or making my own packed lunch. Which seems eminently more sensible in these corona-times.

Anyway, the point is that today there are new rules on the wearing of masks, which previously weren’t rules.

Fortunately the Government has published some guidelines on the new rules and they did it a whole twelve hours before the new rules came into effect, so there’s no excuse for getting this wrong. The guidance is only 2,752 words long, and frankly I’ve written blog posts about Star Wars that are longer than that. So if you had time to read any of  my 31 posts about Star Wars that I wrote in May then you definitely have time to read the Government’s advice about wearing masks.

Then again, even by the relatively humble standards of this blog, my Star Wars posts were not, on the whole, particularly popular . And they were definitely more entertaining than the Government guidance on wearing masks. So there is a chance that people won’t read that either.

But there does seem to be some confusion over the whole mask situation, so maybe I should help to answer some of the more frequently asked questions. Or FAQs, as I like to call them (I should probably trademark that).

I don’t know what the FAQs are surrounding the wearing of face-masks, so I’ve had to make some up. Much like Boris Johnson does with facts.

So without further ado, here are some possible FAQs regarding the wearing of face-masks and also some answers.

Question 1

Why is it only the law today, when coronavirus has been around for ages, supermarkets have always been open and other shops opened up weeks ago?

Essentially, before today masks were definitely ineffective against Covid 19, and the science definitely proved that and even though countries where people habitually wear masks have had much lower rates of infection, there was absolutely no proof that this was because of the mask-wearing. It could just have been luck. But a few weeks ago in the UK we beat coronavirus, because of our bulldog spirit. We sent it packing good and proper, never to be seen again. But some people keep saying that it’s actually still here and even though it definitely isn’t, we decided to close Leicester for a bit, just to shut up the moaners. But they kept moaning so we decided that if everyone wore masks then we wouldn’t be able to see their stupid moaning faces any more. And today just seemed as good a day as any other really.


Question 2

What is acceptable to wear as a face-covering?

Anything you like really. Have a bit of fun with it if you want. Think of it as one big fancy dress party. But you can’t dress up as Batman because his mask covers the wrong bit of his face. Batman’s nemesis Bane would be fine but he’s a baddie. If you want to be a hero then Spiderman would be a good option. Personally I’m going to dress as Darth Vader. But that’s because I already do that most of the time anyway and the costume has a built in ventilator so there’s a bit of long term planning with my decision.

Question 3

Seriously though, do I have to actually wear a face covering, or it it a bit like all the other rules and completely unenforceable?

The law very clearly states that you do have to wear a face covering unless (and I’m quoting the actual Government guidance here) “putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress”. ‘Severe distress’ is quite hard to quantify so, in actual fact, you really don’t have to wear one if you don’t want to. Also the police have repeatedly said they won’t be able to enforce this so it really all comes back to Govian “good manners”. 

Also you can print off your own exemption certificate or just write yourself a note, like you used to do when you didn’t want to do PE lessons. Only this time you won’t have to forge your mum’s signature, because it is apparently easier to get out of wearing a mask during a pandemic than it was to get out of cross-country in secondary school.


Question 4

What will happen to me if I don’t wear a mask?

As most people probably will comply then you’ll likely get lots of disapproving looks. But there are no other consequences.

At all.

Right, I hope that’s cleared things up.

Now get out there and start spending your money!




  33 comments for “James Explains The Mask Situation In The UK

  1. July 24, 2020 at 5:33 am

    Our governor mandated masks here, but there is still, “Unless you have a medical condition which makes it uncomfortable for you.” I do wear mine and have been from early on, but that’s me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • July 25, 2020 at 11:04 am

      I’d opted for the ‘not going anywhere ever’ strategy. People have generally not been wearing masks in the UK, but I have noticed a change in the build-up to yesterday so it looks like most people probably will be from now on, which just begs the question why didn’t they make it compulsory earlier?

      Liked by 2 people

      • July 25, 2020 at 4:45 pm

        I think, no matter what country you live in, bureaucracy is inherent in government and the answer is, “the government was clueless.” No offense, of course, because I don’t live there, but that’s my impression of governments in general.

        Liked by 1 person

      • July 25, 2020 at 4:54 pm

        I’d agree but our current lot are achieving levels of incompetence that are pretty impressive and beyond the standard levels we would normally associate with government.

        Liked by 1 person

      • July 25, 2020 at 4:55 pm

        lol. There’s a thing we have in common.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. July 24, 2020 at 7:22 am

    What a pathetic mandate! The words are said, the government sternly tells- sorry, advises, sorry suggests, sorry allows -whatever loophole lets those rabid foam-flecked open faced raving loony ‘Freedom to stay unmasked’ at any cost self Righteous pratts to hack and cough all over your lunch. Behind their masks how those blue eyed blue blooded politicians must be snickering. Nudge nudge wink wink laisse-faire law-making at its best. Or, more aptly worst.

    Liked by 3 people

    • July 25, 2020 at 11:05 am

      As a general rule, the British tend to be pretty compliant in the main, but we do need to be told what to do. Quite explicitly.


  3. Scribblans
    July 24, 2020 at 7:57 am

    I don’t know James, I think there may be tutting along with the disapproving looks. I’ll be wearing one. I can cope with disapproving looks but we all know a British tutting, particularly a mass group tutting, is a fearsome thing.

    Liked by 4 people

    • July 24, 2020 at 9:57 pm

      I think you’re on to something here. If we’re not careful we might encourage the busy-body end of the spectrum. I mean, yes, tut at the arrogant gobshites who refuse to wear masks at all, but we may be simply walking down an empty street, sans mask and become the victim of a drive-by tutting by some Hyacinth Bucket character. I might stay at home.

      Liked by 3 people

      • July 25, 2020 at 11:07 am

        What kind of dystopic horror have we woken up in? I mean a pandemic is one thing, but unrestrained tutting. It’s too much…

        Liked by 2 people

  4. July 24, 2020 at 9:05 am

    I really don’t see people’s issue with masks. Maybe it’s because I like dressing up and I’m treating it like a new fashion accessory. I have an array of colours and patterns. Plus, they allow me to sing and talk to myself without weird looks. Unless they’re see-through. I hope they’re not – I’ve developed an awful habit of becoming a mouth-breather when wearing one!

    Liked by 2 people

    • July 25, 2020 at 11:09 am

      I don’t think most people really have a problem with masks. The issue is wearing one if no-one else is wearing one. It needed to be mandatory to get most people on board. No-one likes to draw attention to themselves so it’s not nice being the only person wearing a mask, but it will be equally embarrassing to be the only person not wearing one now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 25, 2020 at 12:38 pm

        Well there are a lot of keyboard warriors who ‘contribute’ to our local paper who would disagree and would seemingly rather be fined and tutted at than ever give up the freedom of their face. Of course, it’s easy for them to whinge from the protection of a computer!

        Liked by 2 people

      • July 25, 2020 at 1:34 pm

        Yes, but when faced with a real life tut they soon back down

        Liked by 1 person

  5. July 24, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Thank you. That cleared up absolutely nothing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. July 24, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Very helpful. In the end it will probably come out that some company that produces personal protective equipment was up for a merger, and figured out that getting the government to mandate face masks would be a good way to manipulate their stock price. Capitalism is the perfect economic system and had no flaws!

    Liked by 3 people

    • July 25, 2020 at 11:11 am

      The timing of this does seem strange. Fortunately our politicians are pretty inept at covering up their shady dealings so we’ll find out which one of them is making money from this soon enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 25, 2020 at 11:39 am

        The flip side is that journalists are good at ignoring shady dealings.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. July 24, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Funny! For about a month, I’d wear a t-shirt over my face when I went to the store…

    Liked by 2 people

    • July 25, 2020 at 11:12 am

      I actually think that does conform to our governments guidelines…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. July 24, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    As I said in a post a couple of weeks ago, Gove’s version of the policy is ‘wear a mask, it would be rude not to.’ But probably at least as effective as anything else this useless bunch have done to protect us.

    Must dash, I’m off to put my mask over my eyes while I read the government guidance…

    Liked by 2 people

    • July 25, 2020 at 11:14 am

      Out of all of them, Gove often comes across as the most competent. And he is unequivocally a total waste of space.

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 25, 2020 at 11:20 am

        I can’t look at him without being reminded of Brains, from Thunderbirds.

        Liked by 1 person

      • July 25, 2020 at 11:21 am

        Neither can I now…

        Liked by 1 person

      • July 25, 2020 at 11:28 am

        Sorry 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. July 24, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    The positive part about wearing a mask is you can go out looking absolutely hideous in terms of your hair and make-up and people you know won’t recognize you. That can be particularly positive if the hair-dressers haven’t opened up in your area and you’ve cut your own bangs.

    Liked by 3 people

    • July 25, 2020 at 11:17 am

      But now the masks have become a fashion accessory in their own right so people will judge you for how ‘on trend’ your face covering is…

      Liked by 2 people

      • July 25, 2020 at 1:23 pm

        As long as they don’t know it’s me they’re judging, they can judge away! It’s the incognito aspect I enjoy.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. July 24, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Sorry, can’t read this post, my glasses have steamed up yet again!

    Liked by 1 person

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