From 24th July, shoppers in England will need to wear face masks or coverings or risk a £100 fine. This comes more than a month after face coverings were made compulsory on public transport and non-essential shops got the go-ahead to reopen. Meanwhile, pubs and restaurants reopened their doors earlier this month, but are not included in the new face masks legislation.
Elsewhere in the UK, there are different rules on covering your face in different settings.
Face Masks in Scotland
Currently, by law, people in Scotland must wear face coverings or masks on public transport and in shops. However, they are not required in cafes, restaurants, pubs, or banks. What’s more, certain groups of people are exempt from this rule. These groups include children under 5, paramedics and police officers, and staff in workplaces where screens or distance separate them from customers.
Face Masks in Wales
Face masks are not currently compulsory anywhere in Wales. However, the First Minister announced this week that passengers on Welsh public transport would be required to wear three-layer face coverings from 27th July. Luckily, these do not have to be medical grade masks. In fact, the Welsh government is encouraging citizens to make their own face masks. The official gov.wales website contains a helpful instructional video for anyone wishing to make their own mask.
Face Masks in Northern Ireland
So far, Northern Irish government has not yet made face coverings compulsory in shops, although discussions are underway. Face coverings and masks are however a legal requirement on public transport and for those visiting hospitals and care homes. You can read the official government rules for Northern Ireland on the government services website here.
Why Should We Be Wearing Masks?
Face coverings and masks are an important part of coronavirus measures. They reduce spread by catching the tiny droplets that we expel when talking and breathing. This is crucial, because these droplets can carry the virus, even before an infected person starts showing symptoms. Furthermore, some people may be carrying the virus without ever displaying symptoms. A face mask helps prevent people from spreading the virus unwittingly.
However, a face mask is not a replacement for thorough hand hygiene and social distancing. It’s important not to let your mask draw you into a false sense of security.
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This is a very worrying time. If you’re looking for some extra peace of mind, why not consider a Telecare Alarm? Our service helps people across the UK to retain their independence and live safely in their home. For more information, give us a call on 0800 635 7000 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – our advisors will be happy to help.