The Law on Face Coverings Changes, Again

On Friday 24th July it became law that people (shoppers, etc) must wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth – for example, a fabric covering, scarf or bandanna – in a lot more indoor places.

This is as well as washing our hands and being careful to social distance.

  1. Where Do We Have to Wear a Face Covering?

Face Coverings must now be worn in:

  1. shops,
  2. supermarkets,
  3. shopping centres,
  4. when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops, and
  5. public transport hubs e.g. indoor train stations and terminals, airports, sea and river ports, and indoor bus and coach stations or terminals.

We must also keep on wearing face coverings in hospitals and when we are travelling on public transport: trains, buses and coaches.

2. Where Don’t We Have to Wear a Face Covering?

You won’t have to wear a face covering in the following venues that have measures in place to protect staff and the public from COVID-19. These include:

  1. hairdressers and close-contact services,
  2. eat-in restaurants, cafes and pubs (but you will in cafes or take-away restaurants when you aren’t going to eating there),
  3. entertainment venues, including cinemas, concert halls and theatres,
  4. visitor attractions (such as heritage sites, art galleries or museums),
  5. gyms and leisure centres,
  6. dentists or opticians (but you do need to wear them in hospitals).

3. Who Doesn’t Have to Wear a Face Covering?

The new law doesn’t apply to children under the age of 11 or anyone who can prove their health or impairment[s] means they cannot wear a face covering. This includes people:

  1. with impairments or health conditions that make it really difficult to breathe, or other conditions seriously affecting heart or lungs,
  2. who can’t put on a face covering due to conditions affecting their ability to use their hands/arms (dexterity),
  3. with a condition or impairment that means wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress,
  4. with cognitive impairments, including learning difficulties and dementia, if they would not understand or remember the need to wear a face covering,
  5. with vision impairments that include a restricted field of vision, that means they can only see at the lower edge of the normal field of view,
  6. with any other impairments which would make it difficult to put on or take off a face covering safely, accurately, consistently or without pain,
  7. travelling with, or being a support worker or carer to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.

But, people are going to get quite confused because the new law also doesn’t apply to shop or supermarket staff. The government do strongly recommend that employers think seriously about making their staff wear face coverings but the law doesn’t say they must.

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