In case you’ve been under a rock lately, you’ll be aware that face coverings become compulsory in shops and supermarkets from today.

£100 fines will be issued to people who flout the new laws, which will take effect from today, 24th July 2020.

It’s important to remember that this only currently applies to England.

As with most guidance relating to coronavirus however, there is some ambiguity and confusion.

What is a face covering?

In this context, a face covering is anything which safely covers the nose and mouth. Therefore, you can buy reusable or single-use face coverings or use something like a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering. The most important thing is that it must securely fit round the side of the face.

The government is not advising that we all start wearing PPE to go shopping.

Face coverings
Photo by Vera Davidova on Unsplash

Where do you have to wear a face covering from today?

At a glance, this is where you DO have to wear a face covering from today:

  • Shops, banks, post offices and supermarkets
  • Takeaway food and drink shops or cafes, if you are eating in and there’s no table service
  • 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
  • On public transport

You will be expected to wear a face covering immediately before entering any of these settings and keep it on until you leave.

You are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult too. For example, you will need to wear a face covering in NHS settings and care homes.

Where don’t you have to wear a face covering?

You won’t have to wear a face covering everywhere, including:

  • Eat-in restaurants
  • Pubs
  • Hairdressers and salons
  • Gyms and leisure centres
  • Cinemas, concert halls and theatres
  • Visitor attractions like museums

Who doesn’t have to wear a face covering?

Some people do not have to wear a face covering, including:

  • Young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  • Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • 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
  • In order to take medication
  • If a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

You are allowed to remove a face covering in some scenarios when asked however:

  • In a bank, building society, or post office for identification
  • If asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, when assessing health recommendations, such as a pharmacist, or for age identification purposes
  • When speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound

Keep updated with the latest government guidelines regarding face coverings here.

How do you make a face covering?

Here are a few patterns for how to make a DIY reusable face covering.

Disclaimer: This website includes information obtained to the best of our ability at the time of writing. It is not an official source and is not responsible for any errors or changes in legislation. Please keep up to date with government advice at all time.