A SOUTHAMPTON city chief has hit back at claims wearing face masks in shops is a “monstrous imposition”.

Lorna Fielker has slammed comments made by Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne who said nothing would make him less likely to go shopping than the thought of having to mask up.

However, Cllr Fielker has warned that although lockdown measures have eased, coronavirus is “like the embers of a fire waiting to reignite”.

Daily Echo:

The Labour councillor for Swaythling said: “We need to protect others and ourselves. Wearing masks is a very simple ask.

"People are not likely to be in shops for hours and hours. They can get masks free. People are also making masks.

"I do not know where he [Swayne] is coming from. I will be wearing a mask on the bus next week. Coronavirus is still a risk.”

Cllr Fielker who is also the cabinet member for health, added: “We have been very lucky in Southampton that we have not been as hard hit as other areas and we need to maintain that. “

Her comments come after Sir Desmond criticised plans for masks to become mandatory in supermarkets and other shops in England.

Shoppers will need to have their nose and mouth covered or risk a £100 fine from July 24.

Many experts, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), suggested face coverings were not effective at stopping the spread of coronavirus but are now recommending wearing them inside

Sir Desmond said yesterday: “Was this consultation with the police force and particularly the chief constable of Hampshire, for it is she that will have to enforce this monstrous imposition against myself and a number of outraged and reluctant constituents?”

Daily Echo:

Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock said: “The balance in the need to restrict the spread of Covid whilst also allowing the ancient liberties of a gentleman to go shopping, is a difficult balance to strike and we have made the judgment that the best way to strike it is to allow a gentleman to go shopping, but require him to wear a face mask.”