Health Secretary Sajid Javid have previously insisted face coverings would be a ‘personal choice’ after the so-called ‘freedom day’ on July 19 (Image: PA)

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Face mask laws are to to be officially axed – but the government has 'recommended' using them beyond so-called 'freedom day'.

Boris Johnson and new Health Secretary Sajid Javid have previously insisted face coverings would be a "personal choice" after the so-called "freedom day" on July 19.

Now a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “We expect and recommend that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.”

They also also said ministers would not be ditching their face masks in a U-turn, adding: “All ministers will abide by the guidance that will be published today, and I’m confident they will do so.”

Wearing a face mask is likely to be made a 'personal choice'
(Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

But all face mask laws will still be scrapped, and shops will not have any legal basis on which they can enforce mask-wearing, even if staff are clinically vulnerable.

However, shops, pharmacists and others can ask customers to wear a face mask – and the government expects people who are asked to wear a face mask to do so, out of consideration for other people.

Sajid Javid said on Monday: "We firmly believe that this is the right time to get our nation closer to normal life, so we will move to the next stage of our roadmap on July the 19th," Javid told parliament.

Sajid Javid said stage four of easing restrictions would go ahead
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Javid's statement was confirmation of plans set out in detail last week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"It's so important that people act with caution, and with personal responsibility," Javid said.

"Everyone should return to work gradually if they're currently working from home, they should try to meet people outside where that's possible, and it is expected and recommended that people should wear face coverings, unless they're exempt, in crowded indoor settings like public transport."