Boris Johnson once again flouted official requests to wear a mask as he watched a performance of Macbeth at a busy theatre in north London on Tuesday night, witnesses say.
The government’s guidance on face coverings defines it as:
“Something which securely covers the nose and mouth”. It adds: “You are expected and recommended to continue wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t usually meet.”
Downing Street did not deny that Johnson had not worn a mask at the theatre but said he “follows all Covid rules”. Which doesn’t appear to follow the government’s own guidelines. One rule for everyone but Boris Johnson, again.
Johnson’s apparent decision not to wear a mask at the Almeida comes after he was previously criticised for:
- Not wearing a mask while sitting next to 95-year-old David Attenborough at the Cop26 summit
- While with medical staff in a corridor at Hexham hospital
- On a train in Manchester.
Three fellow audience members said Johnson was not wearing a face covering during the performance, despite the theatre’s requests for visitors to wear one at all times when not eating or drinking. He was photographed in the auditorium with a mask around his chin and again inside a public area of the theatre without a mask on at all, alongside someone believed to be a member of his family.
One audience member sitting near him in the auditorium said Johnson had “coughed and spluttered” during the performance without wearing a face covering and was “talking throughout” which had added to an impression of “arrogance”.
Ticket-holders were emailed before the performance, saying:
“Remember to wear a face covering at all times throughout the building unless you are exempt.”
The theatre has a message on its website saying it was asking all patrons to wear a mask in the theatre, including during the performance, to protect “all our staff, cast and other audience members from Covid”. Theatre goers were told to wear masks as they went in and there were signs up around the building requesting mask wearing.
A second witness sitting in a different part of the room said most people in the theatre were complying with the rules but the prime minister only slipped his mask back on at the end as the lights went up.
And a third audience member on the other side of the auditorium said she had seen him not wearing a mask through the first half, and while he was in the bar area with his fellow guest. It is believed he had his mask round his chin during the first half, and off completely during the second half