Face coverings will be mandatory from Friday 24th July 2020 in all supermarkets and shops.

This page will explore in more detail their role, the settings in which they are recommended, how to use them safely and the importance of following the government advice to avoid fines.

  1. A face covering: something which safely covers the nose and mouth

These are mainly used to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they over the nose and mouth.  You can use a reusable or single-use covering, but a scarf, bandana, religious garment, or handmade cloth coverings can be used too.

  • The Reason for Using the Face Covering

Covid-19 can spread predominantly by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking, so according to the best scientific evidence, face coverings may reduce the spread of Covid-19 droplets in certain circumstances

  • How to Wear A Face Covering?
  1. Cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breath comfortable
  2. Fit securely against the side of the face
  3. Be secure to the head with ties or ear loops
  4. Made of a material that is comfortable and breathable – such as cotton
  5. Ideally at least two layers of fabric (the WHO recommends three)
  6. Unless disposable – washed regularly according to fabric washing instructions
  7. Wash hands thoroughly/or use sanitiser both before use and before removing – avoid touching the covering as much as possible
  • When to Wear a Face Covering

Different parts of the UK have various regulations. In England, you must by law wear a face-covering in the following settings

  • Public Transport
  • Shops and Supermarkets (as of 24th July 2020)

If you do not comply with this law – the police have the powers to enforce the issuing of fines of £100, (halving if paid within 14 days) and shops may refuse entry to those not conforming.

  • Exemptions to Wearing A Face Covering Where They are Mandated

There are some circumstances where face coverings are mandated in England whereby people are not expected to wear face coverings

  1. It is not compulsory for shop or supermarket staff to wear face coverings
  2. Have a legitimate reason, for example, young children under the age of 11, a disability, if you need to help someone who relies on lip-reading, to eat or drink, to take medication. 
  • Maintaining and Disposing of Face Coverings Safely
  1. Do not touch the front of the face-covering or the part that has been in contact with your nose and mouth
  2. Store reusable coverings in a plastic back until they are washed
  3. Do not recycle disposable masks – place them in a residual waste bin
  4. Clean surfaces the mask has touched
  5. Do not place your mask on any tables when in restaurants
  6. Wash regularly following the washing instructions on the fabric and dispose of any coverings that are damaged

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