Coronavirus UK LIVE: Deaths hit 44,968 as VAT reduction starts TOMORROW and face masks soon to be mandatory in shops

THE CORONAVIRUS death toll in the UK hit 44,968 today as face masks are set to become mandatory in shops.

It comes as VAT will be cut from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for businesses in the hospitality and tourism industries – sectors which have been badly hit by the pandemic.

Face mask wearing will not be compulsory in bars and restaurants, Environment Secretary George Eustice has said.

His comments come as officials announce that wearing a face mask in shops and supermarkets will be made mandatory in England this month.

In a statement on Tuesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that anyone failing to comply with the order of wearing face masks in shops – which comes into force on July 24 – could face a fine of up to £100.

Mr Hancock said: “The liability for wearing face-covering lies with the individual.

“Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply. The police have formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine.”

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