No masking July 19's transformation from 'Freedom Day' to 'Judgment Day': The Yorkshire Post says

For months it has been promoted as ‘Freedom Day’ – even after being delayed from its initial date of June 21 – but the reality is that July 19 would now be better described as ‘Judgment Day’.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives for the NHS service of commemoration and thanksgiving to mark the 73rd birthday of the NHS at St Paul's Cathedral, London. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that social distancing requirements will be removed in pubs and restaurants, while face masks will no longer be legally required as part of a new approach of beginning to “learn to live with the virus”.

After 16 months of huge State control over almost all aspects of our lives in attempt to repress the spread of Covid, the Government has now decided that following the vaccination programme the time is right to switch to an approach that emphasises personal responsibility and people having to make their own decisions on what mitigation measures, if any, they take.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The debate around mask-wearing indicates the challenges that lie ahead for society. While Ministers like Rishi Sunak and George Eustice have spoken about their desire to ditch their facemasks as soon as possible, experts such as Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s medical director of primary care, has said she intends to carry on wearing one and advising others to do so.

In addition to personal judgment, the coming weeks and months will show whether the Government got it right in lifting measures at a time when Covid cases and now the numbers of hospitalisations are rising with concerning rapidity.

As cases of the Delta variant continue to spread rapidly – plunging schools into major disruption and increasing uncertainty for already hard-hit businesses who are now faced with both staff and customers being unable to turn up as expected at the last minute as a result of contacts with a positive test – it is clear that the idea that life will return to pre-Covid normality from July 20 is sadly unrealistic.

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe.