Coffee shop confusion over UK’s new Covid rules as even Dominic Raab is stumped

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Sep 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

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The UK’s new restrictions to combat a second wave of coronavirus have sparked confusion at the highest levels after the foreign secretary couldn’t say whether Britons could order a cup of coffee over the counter.

Speaking on BBC’s Radio 4, Dominic Raab was asked whether people could order food at McDonald’s or a coffee shop without sitting down.

He said: “My understanding is you need to order from the tables.”

The new coronavirus restrictions announced on Tuesday suggest people should be wearing a mask when not seated down at a table.

The foreign secretary continued: “I think the key element in the guidance is that we avoid the milling around and the social interaction.

“We think the risk is less if you are sat down and eating.”

Mr Raab was also asked if Britain was taking a Swedish approach to COVID-19 as part of a plan to live with the virus, rather than try to get rid of it.

"I don't accept that characterisation," Raab said in response to the suggestion by epidemiologist Professor carl Hannigan of Oxford University.

Earlier this year, Sweden avoided a lockdown and instead emphasized personal responsibility, social distancing and good hygiene in a bid to slow rather than eradicate a disease deemed here to stay.

Britain announced new measures on Tuesday to try to control the rapid spread of the virus, but those restrictions have been criticised by some scientists for not going far enough.

Updated: September 23, 2020 11:56 AM

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