UK Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said more people should return to their workplaces instead of working remotely, as the country continues to lift Covid-19 restrictions. He also said masks in shops will not be compulsory.

Sophy Ridge of Sky News asked Gove on Sunday whether people should continue working from home if they can, or go back to the office. “We want to see more people back at work on the shop floor, in the office, wherever they can be,” Gove replied.

Of course, in some cases it’s appropriate and convenient for people to work from home… [But] we want to make sure that the economic engines of this country are fired up again.

He added that a raft of financial measures unveiled by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak recently were made “in order to make sure that we are in a position to be able to provide people with safety and security at work, to protect their jobs and to guarantee jobs in the future.”

The UK began gradually lifting quarantine restrictions via various phases last month. Pubs, restaurants, barbershops, and cinemas resumed operations, with strict social distancing rules, while beauty parlors, tattoo salons and tanning salons are expected to follow suit on Monday. Gyms and swimming pools are due to reopen in England from July 25.

Gove said that the government will do all it can to “encourage and support” mask-wearing at enclosed establishments. When asked by BBC’s Andrew Marr if masks will be “mandatory” in shops, the minister replied with “I don’t think mandatory, but I would encourage people to wear face masks.”

“It is basic good manners, courtesy and consideration to wear a face mask if, for example, you are in a shop. I trust people’s good sense,” he added.

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