Great initiative by new Mayor of Maldon distributing masks in High Street to shoppers   

I agree that it is vital to balance the need to restrict the spread of the virus without infringing on civil liberties, while allowing the restoration of economic and social life. My colleagues in Government have made a judgement that the best way to balance these things is to enable people to go out and about, and to see and socialise with friends and family, but to require that, if they choose to do so, they take additional measures to restrict the spread of this virus.

The guidelines and rules are kept under constant review to ensure that restrictions are not in place any longer than necessary. I understand your concerns regarding the restrictions, indeed I would argue that such restrictions are difficult to accept in a democratic and free society. However, this is an extraordinary time and I have concluded that the current action to stop the spread of the disease is necessary, however uncomfortable it is for us all.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) usually spreads by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. These droplets can also be picked up from surfaces, if you touch a surface and then your face without washing your hands first. This is why social distancing, regular hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes is so important in controlling the spread of the virus.

The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.

Because face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing.