On Wednesday the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak announced a landmark scheme to help boost the hospitality sector as it attempts to bounce back after lockdown measures were eased.

Sunak's scheme will provide 50 per cent off meals for anyone eating in participating businesses at a maximum of £10 per head every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during August as part of his 'Eat Out to Help Out' campaign.

He told the Commons on Wednesday:

Meals eaten at any participating business, Monday to Wednesday, will be 50 per cent off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children.

Businesses will need to register, and can do so through a simple website, open next Monday. Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days.

Many have been quick to point out that this program doesn't exactly live up to expectations and ignores the millions of people in the UK who can't afford to go out and eat hot meals while Labour have called the voucher scheme a 'meal deal' and not a new deal for the country.

Regardless the Chancellor promoted his new initiative by serving food at the Wagamama restaurant at Royal Festival Hall, complimenting the chain on how many members of staff they have brought back from furlough.

In most circumstances, few would have batted an eye-lid at a politician taking part in a PR stunt but given the seriousness of the pandemic people began to ask why Sunak wasn't wearing a mask when he was taking the meals to the customer's table.

Although people have a right to be concerned the fact of the matter is that wearing a mask in an indoor space is not currently mandatory in the UK. The only place that people are being made to wear face coverings is on public transport and in a hospital. The government guidelines also declares that there is not enough evidence to suggest that wearing a mask will prevent the spread of Covid-19 or protect someone from it.

The only significant changes to eating out at a restaurant or drinking in a pub is the shortening of the social distancing rule from two meters to one meter, with more screens, ventilation and hand-washing facilities available to customers. Customers may have their temperatures taken and have to give their name as part of the government's test and trace programme but will not be asked to wear a mask. but could be asked to wear one when ordering food or drink at a bar.

So, based on this Sunak did not have to wear a mask as he was following government guidelines. Therefore if you do choose to go out and eat in a restaurant in the next few weeks don't expect your waiter to be wearing a mask or for them to be a member of the cabinet.

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