Face-coverings: What are the new rules about masks in shops? Everything you need to know

24 July 2020, 06:32

You will be required to wear a face-covering inside all shops from Friday
You will be required to wear a face-covering inside all shops from Friday. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The rules around face-coverings have changed in England with people needing to wear a mask in a number of businesses, but what does the law say and are there any exemptions to face-covering rules?

From Friday the public will be required to wear a face-covering in shopping centres, banks, takeaway outlets, sandwich shops and supermarkets.

The new regulations come with stiff penalties for those who flout the rules and could see people issued with fines.

But what has changed? And how will your life be impacted by the new rules designed to stop the spread of coronavirus?

Read more: Supermarkets and shops refuse to enforce new face-coverings rule

Here's everything you need to know about the new face-covering laws.

What has changed?

New laws called The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 have been published and will be brought into force on Friday.

Read more: Ministers accused of 'making it up as they go along' amid facemask confusion

What does the law say?

No-one can go enter certain buildings like shops without a face covering - which covers your face and nose - unless they have a reasonable excuse.

Face coverings must be worn in: shops and shopping centres; banks; building societies; credit unions; short-term loan providers; savings clubs and currency exchange offices; anywhere that transmits money by cash or cheque; post offices.

A reasonable excuse includes: where a person cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of physical or mental illness, impairment or disability; when accompanying someone who relies on lip reading; to avoid or escape harm or injury to themselves or others; in order to eat and drink or take medication.

Are there any exemptions?

Yes.

The rules do not apply to children under the age of 11, employees working in the business in question or public transport staff, police officers, other emergency workers and officials.

Premises which are exempt include: restaurants with table service and bars, including those in hotels or members' clubs; pubs; libraries; law firms; medical and dental practices; vets; cinemas; theatres; museums and galleries; aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites; nightclubs; bingo halls; concert halls, public halls; conference centres; indoor fitness studios; gyms; leisure centres; indoor swimming pools; water parks; bowling alleys; funfairs; theme parks; amusement arcades; indoor soft play areas; indoor sports arenas; casinos; hotels; spas; beauty salons and hairdressers; tattoo and piercing parlours; storage centres; funeral directors; photography studios and auction houses.

What happens if I break the rules?

You can be told to put on a face covering or leave the premises by police or transport officers.

Police officers can escort someone from a building for refusing to follow the rules and can use reasonable force if necessary.

You could be fined £100, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days, or even prosecuted.

How long will the rules be in force?

The rules must be reviewed by the Government within six months of the law being brought into force, which is January 24 2021.

Ultimately the law expires after a year unless the Government scraps it beforehand.

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