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European countries make face masks mandatory as lockdowns end
Updated: 2020-07-15 17:06:57 KST
More countries in Europe are making face masks mandatory.

England has ordered citizens to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets starting from July 24.
It had previously applied the rule on public transport.
It is also planning to fine violators some 1-hundred pounds.
The government says that the measure is to protect retail workers amid the economy reopening.

"Sadly sales assistants, cashiers and security guards have suffered disproportionally in this crisis. The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75 percent higher amongst men and 60 percent higher amongst women than in the general population."

On the same day, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he would like to apply a similar policy in all indoor public spaces,adding that the measure could be implemented starting next month.

This follows Belgium, which last week made face coverings compulsory in newly designated areas like stores, malls, theaters, and museums,in addition to public transport.
Those who break the rule could face a 2-hundred-50 euro fine.

Some stricter measures are seen in parts of Spain.
The region of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands require people to wear face masks in public whenever they are out in public.
That's going further than a national directive that makes them mandatory only when social distancing is not possible.
Residents' responses are mixed.

"I find it a bit exaggerated to demand the use of masks everywhere, but we'll see. Maybe it goes well. It would be worse if there are new outbreaks and we have to close again and be locked up at home."

Based on the data collected by UK-based COVID-19 Behaviour Tracker, the use of face masks in European countries jumped significantly around May when those countries were still under lockdown.
But it still lags behind the mask usage in Asian countries.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.
Reporter : kelee@arirang.com