October 21, 2020

The Papers: ‘Wear masks in shops’ and ‘get back to the office’

Image caption Several of the front pages report that the government is set to make face coverings compulsory in shops in England. The Times says the prime minister is “poised” to make the change “after mounting evidence” they slow the spread of coronavirus. During a People’s PMQs event on Friday, Boris Johnson said “we need to be stricter in insisting people wear face coverings in confined places, where they are meeting people that they don’t normally meet”, mentioning transport and shops specifically.
Image caption The Telegraph leads with the same story, alongside a photo of Mr Johnson wearing a bright blue face covering on a visit in his Uxbridge constituency on Friday – and the paper points out that it is the first time he has been pictured wearing one in public. The picture adds another detail – that the one he wore was a £2 mask from Poundstretcher.
Image caption It comes as the prime minister urged the public to “get back to the office”, saying people should return to their workplaces if they can, the i reports. Downing Street hopes returning workers can boost shops and restaurants reliant on office trade, according to the paper.
Image caption The Guardian says the prime minister is planning a “radical and politically risky” reorganisation of the NHS in England amid frustration at the health service’s chief executive, Simon Stevens. Mr Johnson has set up a taskforce to devise plans for how ministers can regain much of the direct control over the NHS they lost under a controversial shake-up in 2012, according to the paper.
Image caption The Financial Times reports that UK government borrowing costs sank to record lows on Friday. The paper says this underlines investors’ willingness to fund new economic stimulus measures outlined this week by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, such as subsidising restaurant meals.
Image caption The Daily Mail leads with what it describes as an “honours scandal”, reporting that a firm boasted that it could win a damehood for a celebrity author for £80,000. The paper says leaked emails show an offer to help win an honour was made to Barbara Taylor Bradford, who rejected the pitch.
Image caption The figure of £80,000 also features on the Daily Mirror’s front page but in a very different context. It leads on a story about the US dentist who sparked an international outcry after killing a lion in Zimbabwe. The paper reports that Walter Palmer is hunting again – and paid up to £80,000 to slaughter a ram in Mongolia.
Image caption The Daily Star reports on Johnny Depp’s libel case against the Sun newspaper. During the hearing, the actor accused his ex-wife Amber Heard of leaving faeces in their bed, according to the paper, which doesn’t resist the opportunity to use the headline “Amber Turd”.
Image caption “The great TV licence revolt” is the headline for the Daily Express front page. The paper says “furious” older viewers plan to “paralyse” the BBC’s system by cancelling direct debits and standing orders and paying by cheque instead, after the government ended its payment of TV licences for over-75s this year and the BBC decided against picking up the bill instead.

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