TODAY sees yet more changes to our way of life.

There will be a further easing of lockdown restrictions with the reopening of many shops and indoor markets, zoos and churches for private prayer, as well as some secondary school pupils returning for face-to-face meetings with teachers. But today also sees mandatory wearing of face coverings coming in for users of public transport, as well as for all hospital visitors, outpatients and staff, with some exemptions to the rules.

The idea behind the masks policy coming in only now when measures are being relaxed, is that it will coincide with more people being out and about, and also encourage more people to return to work.

It comes after weeks of ministers dismissing facial coverings as being largely pointless to prevent the spread of the virus, the World Health Organisation not recommending them to be worn in public except for those displaying symptoms or carers of people who may have COVID-19, and after the government said they would not enforce the wearing of them. The effectiveness of masks has led to many disagreements between scientists too. But research has shown that they can provide a barrier to cough and sneeze droplets.

With that in mind, having to wear them is surely a small price to pay for keeping people safe.