Face coverings are now compulsory across England in a number of situations – with everyone having to wear one unless they have a legitimate exemption.
If you don’t cover your nose and mouth, shops and other places can turn you away – and if the police get involved you could be fined £100.
You have to wear a mask in all shops – including when you are buying takeaway food in faces and sandwich shops – as well as on public transport, reports MirrorOnline.
The rules, which allow police to remove you from premises as well as issuing a fine, will stay in place until at least the end of January 2021.
According to the Government: “In the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.”
Places where you must wear a face covering by law in England
- Shops, including banks and post offices
- Takeaway food and drink shops or cafes, if you’re not sitting down to eat or drink and if there’s no table service available.
- Indoor shopping centres – excluding any area with sit-down food and drink service
- Transport hubs – excluding any area with sit-down food and drink service
- Public transport
- Hospitals – the Government says: “All visitors and outpatients must wear face coverings at all times”
Places where you don’t need to wear a mask in England
Wearing a face covering is not mandatory in other venues that have measures in place to protect staff and the public from COVID-19.
These include the following – though some may obviously choose to ask you to wear a mask anyway:
- Eat-in restaurants and pubs
- Hairdressers and other treatment salons
- Gyms and leisure centres
- Cinemas, concert halls and theatres
- Visitor attractions (such as heritage sites or museums) – except in their shops
- Dentists or opticians
- Chiropody, chiropractic, osteopathic or other medical services
- Vet surgeries
Situations where you are allowed remove a face covering if asked
- In a bank, building society, or post office for identification
- In a shop for identification when buying age-restricted products like alcohol
- In a pharmacy for assessing health recommendations
- When speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound
People who are exempt from wearing a mask in shops and public transport
- Children under the age of 11
- Shop staff and public transport operators in the course of their work (more below)
- Police or PCSOs in the course of their work
- Emergency responders in the course of their work
- “Any other person providing services in the relevant place under arrangements made with the person responsible for a relevant place”
- People with breathing difficulties and other respiratory conditions.
- People with conditions affecting their dexterity, meaning they are not able to put on a face covering.
- People with mental health conditions such as anxiety or panic disorders.
- People with other non-visible disabilities such as autism.
- People with cognitive impairments, including dementia, who may not understand or remember the need to wear a face covering.
- People with visual impairments, with a restricted field of vision, particularly if any residual vision is at the lower edge of the normal field of view.
- People with impairments which would make it difficult to put on or take off a face covering safely, accurately, consistently or without pain
- Anyone else with justifiable reason not listed above on the grounds of health or disability.
Other people who have a ‘legitimate reason’ not to wear a mask
- If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- If you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
- To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- To avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- To eat or drink if reasonably necessary
- To take medication
- If a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering