From today, it is now compulsory to wear a mask or other facial covering when entering a shop in England.
As we said in our guide to face coverings last month, masks act as a barrier to stop potentially infected droplets spreading to other people. Masks, along with social distancing and hand hygiene, are the best ways to reduce the risk of the illness.
Masks or other fabric items can be used as long as they cover the mouth, nose and chin.
The new rule, which includes all shops and supermarkets, comes into effect today (24th July). You risk a fine of up to £100 if you do not wear one.
How has the guidance changed?
Since May we’ve been advised to cover our faces in confined public spaces where 2 metre (now 1 metre +) social distancing was not always possible.
In June, it became mandatory to wear a mask or face covering on all public transport and in all NHS settings in England, including GP surgeries.
The requirement in shops now brings England in line with Scotland, Spain, Italy and Germany, amongst others.
For practical reasons, there is not a requirement to cover your face in a restaurant, café or pub, but people should still adhere to the ‘1 metre +’ distancing rule and practice good hand hygiene.
Does everyone have to wear a mask?
There are some clear and distinct exemptions for people who do not have to wear a mask or facial covering:
- Children under the age of 11.
- People will disabilities that prevent them from putting on, wearing or removing a mask.
- Those with breathing difficulties.
- Anyone who is travelling with someone who relies on lip-reading.
It is not a requirement for staff in shops to wear face coverings or masks.
Wearing a mask reduces the chances of you passing on infections to other people, so it is in all of our interests.
From 1st August, the most at-risk people who have been shielding at home since March will have that restriction lifted, so it’s even more important we take the little steps to keep ourselves and those around us safe.