New rules on face coverings – everything you need to know

Face coverings

From Friday 24th July face coverings are now compulsory for customers in shops across England. We explain everything you need to know – from where you must wear a covering, to how.

Under the new government regulations , it will be mandatory for the public to wear face coverings – for example, a fabric covering, scarf or bandana – that covers the nose and mouth in shops and supermarkets including indoor shopping centres, transport hubs, banks and post offices. They are already mandatory for anyone using public transport.

They must also be worn when in takeaways, although they can be removed in a seating area.

Frequent hand washing and careful social distancing should also continue.

The new rule carries a £100 fine for non-compliance.

It will also be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. If you are in a premises where you are able to sit down and consume food or drink that you have bought, then you can remove your face covering in order to eat and drink on-site.

Face coverings

Where are face coverings compulsory?

👉  Shops and shopping centres

👉  Banks and building societies

👉  Post Offices

👉  Transport hubs, including train stations and terminals, airports, ports, bus and coach stations or terminals

👉  Takeaways or taking food to take away from cafés and restaurants

👉  Sandwich shops

👉  Beauty salons

👉  Petrol stations

Where they are not required:

👉  Hairdressers and treatment salons (unless specified by the venue)

👉  Gyms and leisure centres

👉  Eat-in restaurants and pubs with table service

👉  Cinemas, concert halls and theatres

👉  Visitor attractions such as museums

👉  Heritage sites

👉  Dentists

👉  Opticians

Face coverings will not be mandatory for:

  • anyone under the age of 11
  • those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering

There is evidence to suggest that, when used correctly, face coverings may reduce the likelihood of someone with the infection passing it on to others, particularly if they are asymptomatic.

What’s the best way to wear a face covering?

  • If you wear a blue disposable one, wear it with the folds facing downwards – that way any droplets wont get caught in the folds
  • Wear fabric ones only once – then wash in a machine on at least a 60c temperature
  • Cover both your mouth and your nose, only covering your mouth will offer little or protection to you and others
  • Make sure the covering is a snug fit without too many gaps
  • Handle only by the loops when removing the covering and fold outside corners together – then place in the wash
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing

The government is telling the public to play their part and wear face coverings in order to help fight the spread of the virus, enabling further easing of national restrictions. The responsibility for wearing a face covering sits with individuals. Businesses are encouraged to take reasonable steps to encourage customers to follow the law, including through signs and providing other information in store.

Health and Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“As we move into the next stage of easing restrictions for the public, it is vital we continue to shop safely so that we can make the most of our fantastic retail industry this summer.

Everyone must play their part in fighting this virus by following this new guidance. I also want to thank the British public for all the sacrifices they are making to help keep this country safe.”


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