Face Coverings to be worn by law from 24th July

Effective from Friday the 24 July, and if you’ve not already heard, face coverings must be worn in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and transport hubs.

It’s the law, so from now on you’ll need to wear something like a mask, scarf or bandanna that fully covers your nose and mouth in enclosed public spaces.

Even when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. But if you’re sat in to eat or drink, you can take it off.

It’s important because the risk of transmission is so much higher indoors, so please let’s all do our bit. I wear a face covering to protect you. You wear a face covering to protect me. It’s simple.

It helps fight spread of the virus, and besides, it enables further easing of national restrictions.

If you’re a business, you’re encouraged to encourage your customers to follow the law, through signage and in-store information.

You can find out more about when to wear a face covering and how to make your own on the government’s website.

When using a face covering, the government strongly advises that you:

  • make sure it covers your nose and mouth fully
  • wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on or taking it off
  • avoid touching the front of it or taking it off and putting it back on again a lot in quick succession
  • wash it regularly and store it in a plastic bag in between washing or wearing
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth while wearing it
  • not share your face covering with others

There are some exemptions, so if you see anyone not wearing one, there may be good reason.

Face coverings are not mandatory for: 

  • Children under 11 years old
  • People with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering
  • Children under 3 years old should not wear face coverings as the could cause choking or suffocation

If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, you might feel more comfortable using an exemption card to show that you don’t have to wear one. You can download one to print or save to your smartphone from the government’s website. It’s up to you though, you don’t have to carry one and you shouldn’t be routinely asked to provide any written evidence of your exemption.