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Face masks compulsory in England’s shops, banks and post offices from tomorrow
23 July 2020, 15:44 | Updated: 23 July 2020, 15:57
Face masks will be made mandatory in England's shopping centres, transport hubs, banks and post offices from tomorrow, No10 has announced.
The government issued new rules today that people in England must wear face coverings such as masks, scarves, bandanas or fabric coverings that cover the nose and mouth in several additional enclosed public spaces.
It will also now be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafés and shops.
However, a number of venues will be exempt, such as restaurants, pubs and gyms, it was confirmed.
Announcing the government's latest steps to help limit the spread of coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged people to adhere to the new measures.
He said: "As we move into the next stage of easing restrictions for the public, it is vital we continue to shop safely so that we can make the most of our fantastic retail industry this summer.
"Everyone must play their part in fighting this virus by following this new guidance. I also want to thank the British public for all the sacrifices they are making to help keep this country safe."
However, people will be allowed to remove their face mask when sitting down to eat or drink inside a restaurant or café.
They will also not be compulsory for children under the age of 11, people with disabilities or those with particular health conditions that affect their respiratory system or cognitive ability.
The government advice explains: "There is evidence to suggest that, when used correctly, face coverings may reduce the likelihood of someone with the infection passing it on to others, particularly if they are asymptomatic."
It adds the measures will enable the "further easing of national restrictions" but says the responsibility to wear a face covering "sits with individuals."
Nonetheless, businesses are being urged to encourage customers to follow the law through the use of signs and information in stores.
Where you will need a mask from tomorrow
• Shops/shopping centres
• Enclosed transport hubs (e.g. train stations, airports)
• When buying take away food from cafés and shops
• Banks/building societies
• Post offices
Where you won't need a mask from tomorrow
• Gyms/leisure centres
• Hairdressers/other treatment salons
• Those aged below 11, with disabilities, or respiratory/cognitive conditions
• Cinemas, concert halls and theatres
For transport hubs in England, the requirements mean face coverings must be worn in indoor train stations and terminals, airports, maritime ports, and indoor bus and coach stations or terminals.
People who do not abide by the regulations - and are not exempt under one of the categories set out above - could face a police fine of up to £100, as is currently the case on public transport.
Constabularies have said throughout the pandemic that they will “engage, explain, encourage and finally enforce as a last resort.”
People wearing face coverings are still strongly advised to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before putting one on or taking it off.
They should also avoid taking their masks off and putting them back on again several times in quick succession, while they should be stored in a plastic bag in between washes or wearing.
People should also avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth while wearing one.