WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Various outlets denounced the Queen and Prince William for not following the health protocol of wearing a face mask during their visit to a military laboratory outside of London.
- The Buckingham Palace, however, said that medical advice as well as health measures were all undertaken throughout the royal visit.
- The tour at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory marks the Queen’s first royal public engagement since the lockdown.
The first outing of the Queen since the coronavirus lockdown generated some criticism from various outlets over her decision of not wearing a mask as she visited a military laboratory with her grandson Prince William.
Royal observers noted that the pair did not wear a face covering during their tour at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down near Salisbury, about 90 miles outside of London.
However, the Buckingham Palace assured that all necessary precautions and medical advice were sought for the visit.
“Specific advice has been sought from the medical household and relevant parties, and all necessary precautions taken, working closely with DSTL,” according to a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman. DSTL also confirmed that all of the 48 staff who were scheduled to meet with the royal visitors had all tested negative for COVID-19.
Furthermore, both the Queen and the Duke of Cambridge maintained physical distancing throughout the visit with both arriving at the venue separately.
Graham Smith of Republic, a group that advocates an elected head of state, however, argues that the Queen should set an example. “I can’t see how this fits with the rules everyone else is expected to follow, so the palace needs to come up with a rules-compliant explanation.”
The unmasked royal also sparked Twitter comments from TV host Piers Morgan who wrote: “Sorry, but this is not a smart move by the royal family as the virus rages and the country heads into another lockdown.”
But others like Joe Little, Majesty magazine managing editor, defended the Queen and the Duke of Cambridge saying despite not wearing face masks, medical recommendations were sought and distancing was observed during the royal visit.
“The Queen’s first official engagement away from a royal residence for the first time in seven months delivers a visible and timely reassurance that daily life can continue during the pandemic in a modified form, even for someone in their 95th year,” he added.
Besides being compulsory in public transport and public places, mask use is also encouraged by the government in indoor venues where social distancing may be difficult to maintain and where people can come into close contact with those they don’t regularly meet.
Source: The Guardian