BBC Breakfast viewers confused as reporter seen without a face mask in pharmacy

BBC Breakfast viewers were left confused after spotting a reporter not wearing a face covering inside a pharmacy during a segment on the show today (April 9).

Journalist Ben Boulos was interviewing community pharmacist Ash Soni in Streatham about the release of free lateral flow tests in the UK.

During the segment shown on TV, neither Ben nor Mr Soni wore face masks inside the pharmacy but did maintain social distancing.

The reporter asked: "Ash, firstly do people need to make an appointment to come and collect these (testing kits)?"

Mr Soni explained that any person can walk in to any community pharmacy without making appointments and they can collect the testing kits to up to a maximum of four household members.

While BBC fans praised for the detailed explanations on the free testing kits, many were baffled when they saw the pair without face masks on live TV.

Under current government guidelines, it is illegal for any patient to enter a pharmacy without wearing a face covering unless they are medically exempt from doing so.

Pharmacy staff are not legally obliged to wear one but are recommended to do so when social distancing cannot be maintained.

One wrote: "Why wasn’t Ben Boulos or Ash Soni the pharmacist wearing a mask while conducting an interview inside the pharmacy?"

"Why was a reporter in a pharmacy indoors with no one wearing a mask?" a second asked while a third wondered if it could be a new exemption for reporters.

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The concern came after host Naga Munchetty was seen interrupting Transport secretary Grant Schapp in an interview about the new traffic light system for leisure travel.

According the current government's guidelines on face coverings, there are some places where you must wear a face covering by law, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.

In the list of indoor settings, people inside shops that offer goods or services for retail sale, like a pharmacy, must wear a face covering.

Offenders may be given a fine of £200 if they fail to show their reasons of exemptions.

Daily Star has contacted BBC for comment.

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