Dominic Raab photographed for Chelsea match without mask | Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab has been pictured without a mask at a Chelsea game this week, despite the club urging fans to wear face masks while sitting in the stadium.

A spokesman for the deputy prime minister and justice minister said he “followed the rules at all times” as government guidance says masks should only be worn indoors at sports stadiums.

However, the government has urged people to exercise extreme caution in the run-up to New Year’s Eve, when the Omicron variant is fueling a rise in cases to record highs.

There were 183,037 new infections reported across the UK on Wednesday as Raab traveled to Stamford Bridge to watch Chelsea’s draw against Brighton and Hove Albion.

The home club sent out “important information” to fans who took part in the match, telling them: “Fans will be required to wear masks in all indoor areas of the stadium, including the pitches, except when eating or drinking. Masks are not required when you sit or walk outside the stadium, but they are recommended. “

UK Covid cases

A supporter near Raab took a picture of the unmasked minister next to another fan who appeared to be wearing face mask. Others in the background can be seen without one.

An observer who wished to remain anonymous said: “Personally, I find it rather surprising that a senior minister would think it wise to sit in a crowded public arena and ignore health recommendations to wear a mask for 90 minutes during this Omicron rise.

“For me, it is his decision-making that should be questioned. It is a busy football match, he can be easily seen and there are many cases of Covid. He does not really like to be the best example. “

A spokesman for Raab said: “He followed the rules at all times.”

Ministers have advised people to be extra careful during the party period as people are likely to mingle more with older relatives.

The rules remain that people only need to get a Covid test for certain reasons, but health officials have gone further in light of Omicron’s proliferation and the minister’s reluctance to implement stricter restrictions than Plan B.

Some government advisers have suggested that people should adapt their behavior beyond the rules, for example by downgrading social gatherings or being tested before meeting with friends.

'They would sometimes have a drink': Raab defends picture of wine in No 10 garden video
‘They would sometimes have a drink’: Raab defends picture of wine in No 10 garden video

Ministers have previously been accused of not being a good example. Boris Johnson was not pictured wearing a mask during part of a visit to a Northumbria hospital last month.

At the time, Raab defended the Prime Minister and told Sky News: “Like many of us, we take the advice and guidance we have received in various contexts, and it is the right thing for us to do as politicians, and it is the right thing to do. . for the public to do. “

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