Dominic Raab maskless at Chelsea match despite club urging their use

Dominic Raab is spotted without a mask at Chelsea football match despite club urging fans to wear face coverings while seated in the stadium

  • Deputy Prime Minister, 47, was at match on Wednesday with 40,000 fans
  • Chelsea had recommended supporters wear them while seated at stadium
  • Mr Raab’s spokesman said he had ‘followed the rules at all times’ 
  • Government guidance does not say they have to be worn in outdoor stadiums 

The Deputy Prime Minister has been spotted without a coronavirus facemask at a Chelsea football match attended by 40,000 people despite the club recommending supporters wear them.

Dominic Raab, 47, was at the Stamford Bridge game against Brighton on Wednesday night.

Raab, who is the Secretary of State for Justice, appeared to be sat next to someone who was wearing a mask.

Chelsea had told fans attending the game: ‘Supporters will be required to wear masks in all indoor areas of the stadium, including the concourses, except when they are eating or drinking. Masks are not required when seated or walking outside the stadium, but they are recommended.’

Raab, who self-isolated on December 9 after coming into contact with a positive case, denied any wrongdoing.  

A spokesperson insisted he ‘followed the rules at all times’, given that government guidance states masks only need to be worn indoors at sport stadiums.

The football supporter near Raab who took the picture of him told The Guardian: ‘Personally I find it quite surprising that a senior minister would think it wise to sit in a tightly crowded public arena and ignore health recommendations to wear a mask for 90 minutes during this Omicron surge.

‘For me it’s his decision-making which should be called into question. It’s a busy football game, he can be easily spotted and Covid cases are high. He’s not really bothered about setting the best example.’

Dominic Raab has been pictured without a mask at a Chelsea match this week, despite the club having urged fans to keep face coverings on while seated in the stadium

Britain’s Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, December 7, 2021

Earlier this month a trio of cabinet ministers went into self-isolation after being in close contact with the Australian deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce.

Joyce tested positive for Covid, causing Raab, Grant Shapps and Michael Gove pull out of events until they were tested negative.

On the day of the match there had been 183,037 new infections reported as Omicron began to rage across the UK. 

This is not the first time Boris Johnson’s government has been accused of setting a bad example on coronavirus protections. 

Last month the Prime Minister himself was seen not wearing a mask during part of a visit to a Northumberland hospital.

Raan went on Sky News to stand up for him, insisting: ‘Like many of us, we take the advice and guidance that we’ve got in different settings and that’s the right thing for us to do as politicians and it’s the right thing for the public to do.’

In November a global study suggested mask-wearing was linked to a 53 per cent cut in the number of Covid cases worldwide.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi also recommended that school staff, visitors and pupils in Year 7 and above should wear masks in communal areas.

The football match between Chelsea and Brighton ended 1-1 in London on Wednesday

Infection rates are incredibly high but are not currently translating into hospital patients

Covid lateral flow tests are handed out for free in boxes of either seven or 20 tests to residents in Slough, Berkshire, yesterday

Current Covid Facemask restrictions

People must wear facemasks in the following places:

  • Public transport;
  • Retail shops;
  • Beauty salons;
  • Hairdressers;
  • Banks;
  • Post offices;
  • Takeaways;
  • Estate agents;
  • Veterinary clinics;
  • Taxis;
  • Driving instruction cars.

Those caught flouting the restrictions will be fined £200 for a first offence, which will double on each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £6,400. 

Teachers in primary education and below should also follow the guidance – but not pupils, the Department for Education said.

The return of facemasks was announecd by the Prime Minister last month.

He described the rules on masks and border controls as ‘targeted and proportionate measures’ needed to give scientists time to understand how transmissible the Omicron variant was and how much it might evade vaccine protection.

‘First, we need to slow down the seeding of this variant in our country,’ he said.

‘We need to buy time for our scientists to understand exactly what we are dealing with, and for us to get more people vaccinated and– above all – to get more people boosted; as well as to help our NHS prepare in what is an already challenging winter.

The new rules came in November 30 and initially heralded a crackdown on mask-flouters in London at least.

Tube officials rebuked commuters who failed to cover their faces and threatened to fine them £200 if they were caught breaking the rules again. 

Under Covid restrictions, facemasks were again compulsory on public transport, in shops and settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers in England.

Those caught flouting the restrictions will be fined £200 for a first offence, which will double on each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

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