A requirement to wear masks in England amid the coronavirus pandemic is expected to become optional, British Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said Sunday.
“It does look as if, thanks to the success of the vaccine program, that we now have the scope to roll back those restrictions and return to a normality as far as possible,” Jenrick told the BBC.
Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales handle their own coronavirus rules.
Jenrick said the public should be aware that cases may continue rising amid the spread of highly contagious variants, but reasoned that “we do now have to move into a different period, where we learn to live with the virus, we take precautions and we as individuals take personal responsibility.”
The BBC reported that final COVID-19 restrictions in England will likely be lifted on July 19.
Though Jenrick could not definitively confirm masking requirements would disappear, he said “the prime minister is going to make an announcement in the coming days, but it does look as if the data is in the right place.”
“We trust the British public to exercise good judgment, people will come to different conclusions, as you say,” he said. “We all need to ensure that we are double vaccinated, and that will be absolutely critical if we want to maintain this momentum, there are still people in those categories one to nine, who haven't come forward to be vaccinated.”
A Scottish government spokesperson said while some restrictions would be lifted in Scotland on Aug. 9, there’s still an expectation for people to wear masks in shops and on public transportation, the BBC reported.
Wales is reportedly set to review its restrictions on July 15.
According to the U.K. government, 86 percent of eligible Britons have gotten their first dose of the vaccine and nearly 64 percent have gotten both doses.