Face coverings are mandatory on public transport and from yesterday, July 24, also in shops.

To mask up or not to mask up, it’s been a hotly debated subject over the last few months. But this week the rules around wearing face coverings in England changed. 

We were already expected to wear face coverings on all forms of public transport, and the rules got stricter yesterday. Face coverings also became compulsory in stores and supermarkets, including banks, coffee shops and takeaway restaurants, in England.

Now, if you don’t wear one, a shop can refuse you entry and call the police – and you could face a fine of up to £100. 

As with face coverings on public transport, some people are exempt. That includes children under the age of 11 and people with specific disabilities. You’re also allowed to remove your mask when travelling with, providing assistance to or speaking to someone who relies on lip-reading to communicate. 

Are they compulsory anywhere apart from shops and public transport? Not right now, but official government guidance states that members of the public are ‘also strongly encouraged to wear a face-covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.’

FYI, face coverings are not the same as medical-grade face masks or PPE. You have to wear something that securely covers your nose and mouth. That can be a single-use mask, a reusable fabric mask, a scarf or a bandana, as long as it securely fits around your face. 

You can check out the full guidance and find out how to make your own government-approved face mask at WWW.GOV.UK