It is still not mandatory to wear face covering in Welsh supermarkets or shops, but if you travel to England it will be from Friday, July 24.
It has also just been confirmed that you should carry them in takeaway coffee and sandwich shops.
Under the new rules, people should have their nose and mouth covered or fined up to £ 100, but this will be reduced to £ 50 if people pay within 14 days.
This is after rules requiring people in public transport to wear face covering in England were made mandatory last month, and must also be used on trains and buses in Wales from Monday 27 July.
Initially, many experts and authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO), suggested that facial coverings were not effective in preventing the spread of Covid-19, but now recommend wearing them in.
When you need to wear a face mask when visiting England
Wearing a face mask on public transport has been mandatory since June 15, and from Friday onwards you must wear them in shops, supermarkets and takeaways.
Here is the full list of when to wear a mask when traveling on:
- bus or coach
- train or tram
- ferry or hovercraft or other vessel
From Friday, you must also wear a face cover in:
- sandwich shops
- coffee shops
- Petrol stations.
Confusion about the new rules for takeaways
There have been many mixed reports in this area from companies, with the health secretary and the official spokesperson for Boris Johnson contradicting one another.
But Thursday morning, Minister Brandon Lewis confirmed on breakfast televisions that you should wear a mask with a takeaway – depending on why you go in there.
If you sit down to eat in the takeaway, you don’t need a mask. But if you pay for food or drink and take it out, you do need a mask.
It means that people going to places like Costa, Starbucks and McDonald’s will need to wear a face cover from Friday, and the rule will also apply to banks and gas stations.
What the supermarkets say
Sainsbury’s made a controversial announcement earlier this week that it won’t be a challenge for customers who arrive at their stores without face cover.
The large supermarket chains have their own rules about what happens when people enter their shops without face cover.
Tesco will also have face mask stands at entrances, so customers can take and open a package, put it on and pay for it at the checkout, but there is no enforcement policy.
Cooperative staff will not question those without masks, but adds, “It is the responsibility of all non-exempt customers to ensure they comply with the new legal requirements.”
Read here what the supermarkets say.
The science behind wearing facial covers
A recent report published by the Royal Society suggests that even simple homemade facial coverings can reduce transmission if enough people wear them in public.
The study, based on mathematical modeling, showed that if an entire population were wearing facial covers that were only 75% effective, it would increase the R value, the number of people to whom an infected individual transmits the virus from 4.0 to less 1.0, without the need for locks.
Another Royal Society report suggests that the use of cotton masks is associated with a 54% lower risk of infection compared to the no-mask groups, when tested in a healthcare setting.
Melinda Mills, a Nuffield professor of sociology, at the University of Oxford, told a webinar, “So that should suggest that when you’re in public in general, it should give you some, not 100%, but it offers you some protection. “
Meanwhile, another study of coronavirus deaths in 198 countries found that countries with policies to promote the wearing of masks had lower mortality rates.
In another piece of scientific research, which was published last month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists calculated that wearing facial covers between April 6 and May 9 prevented more than 78,000 infections in Italy and more than 66,000 infections in New York City between April 17 and May 9.
The benefits of wearing it
Experts say that the risk of coronavirus transmission appears to be higher in poorly ventilated indoor areas, and wearing face covering in small shops or closed shopping centers can help reduce the spread.
Keith Neal, professor emeritus of epidemiology of infectious diseases at the University of Nottingham, said: “Lack of strong evidence of their effectiveness should not be considered a problem, but evidence is piling up that they play a role in reducing transmission and also in protecting the wearer. “
Moreover, there is also more evidence that many people with the virus who have no symptoms can still be contagious.
Why face masks aren’t made mandatory in shops in Wales
Frank Atherton, Chief Medical Officer of Wales, says that evidence that a move towards wearing masks was ‘weak’ and that there was only ‘a minor benefit’ to wearing face masks.
He said, “There is undoubtedly a small benefit to wearing face masks, but most of the evidence is based on surgical face masks, the kind you see in hospitals, rather than the kind of simple face masks recommended in the community.”
Mr. Atherton added, “There is a divergence of countries, and it can be confusing to people. Here in Wales, we believe that the mandate to make something mandatory so far has been a really high step. need a high bar to arrange things.
“The three things we look at are whether a policy is needed, whether it is proportionate and whether it is fair.
“Here in Wales, we know that the virus is currently transmitted at a low level, so the question arises as to why we should introduce such a mandate at this time.
What are the rules in other parts of the UK and Europe
The new rules in England bring it in line with Scotland, as well as other major European countries such as Spain, Germany and Italy.
Wearing a mask is already mandatory in shops in Scotland, while in Northern Ireland, such as Wales, it is only advised.
Masks have been mandatory on public transport in England since June 15. You must also wear a mask when you go to the hospital as a visitor or outpatient clinic. Hospitals will be able to provide face coverage in an emergency.
Countries that are part of the UK’s ‘airlifts’ travel plans have implemented strict rules regarding face-covering in confined spaces to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
In Spain, face masks are mandatory for anyone over six years of age, when it is not possible to maintain the required social distance of 1.5 meters.
In Greece it is mandatory to wear masks when using public transport, including flights, ferries, airports and taxis. They are also mandatory in medical facilities and in lifts.
The advice is to check what the rules are before you travel.
The law on children and the wearing of face masks
Getting a child to wear something they don’t want can be a nightmare in the best of times, especially not with a face mask.
But for those traveling with children, it may be nice to know that those under 11 are exempt. It is also not recommended that children under three wear these.
Other exceptions include those who travel with or provide assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate. You can also remove a cover if you need to eat, drink or take medicines.
The type of mask you need
Ideally, the face covers should be made of high-quality multilayer cotton.
Whenever possible, they should be worn in confined indoor spaces and busy areas, especially where social distance cannot be maintained.
Japan follows the three C’s, closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact settings.
When wearing a face cover, it should cover the mouth and nose without any gaps.
WHO recommends a three-layer facial treatment in the community – the outer layer must be water resistant, the inner layer must be water absorbent and the middle layer serves as a filter.
It emphasizes that a face cover alone cannot protect people from Covid-19 and should be combined with social distance of at least a meter and wash hands regularly.
The government has said that coverings can be made from scarves, bandanas, or other fabrics as long as they cover the mouth and nose.
But scientists at the Leverhulme Center, who studied different types of facial coverings used by members of the public, say some coverings are not as effective as others, with loosely woven fabrics, such as scarves, proving to be the least effective.
Prof Mills, director of the Leverhulme Center, said, “Attention should also be paid to how well it fits the face; it should wrap around the ears or around the back of the neck for better coverage.”