Members of public courts and tribunals in England are being asked to wear face coverings starting next week, according to HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS).
The rules, effective from Monday, will be imposed to minimize the risk of coronavirus in HMCTS buildings, although people may need to temporarily remove masks for identification purposes.
Those who speak or testify in court may also be forced to have their face covering removed by a judge, but must maintain a strict distance of two meters.
Exemptions also apply to people with disabilities or health problems that make wearing and masking difficult, and who may need to read someone else’s lips.
Courtrooms themselves will “continue to be covered by the current guidelines,” stating that court users can wear face cover while in court, HMCTS said.
The guidance only refers to the use of face coverings in English courts and tribunals.
People who visit buildings in Wales and Scotland are also allowed to wear them, but this is not mandatory.
The announcement comes when the use of facial coverings will become mandatory in shops, banks, takeaways, post offices, sandwich shops and supermarkets in England.