Face coverings to be compulsory in shops from Friday

Wearing face masks and coverings will be made compulsory in shops in England from this week.

Wearing face masks and coverings will be made compulsory in shops in England from this week. - Credit: Pixabay

Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets to minimise the spread of coronavirus will be mandatory from Friday.

People who fail to comply will face a £100 fine, although children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

It will not be compulsory for shop workers in England to wear a face covering.

However, many workers already wear coverings or are protected by a screen.

Mirror reflection of a hair dresser working with a face mask during coronavirus quarantine.

Mirror reflection of a hair dresser working with a face mask during coronavirus quarantine. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The government says it is introducing these rules to minimise risk of the spread of coronavirus and to increase confidence as the country returns to a new type of normality.


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Ministers say they have been following scientific advice about face coverings as issued by the World Health Organisation, which initially said masks were not effective in preventing the spread of the virus.

However, that advice has now changed as the health organisation has learnt more about how the disease spreads.

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North Somerset Council deputy leader Mike Bell said: “Face coverings can be simple pieces of cloth, such as a cut-up T-shirt or bandana, though the more layers of material the better.

“The mask needs to fit snugly around the face, covering the mouth and nose, though you should still be able to breathe comfortably.

“Social distancing and hand-washing are still vital to help protect yourself and others against coronavirus.

“Continue to stay at least two metres away from anyone you don’t live with or who isn’t in your support bubble.”

The council says that, if it is not possible to keep a distance of two metres away from somebody, one metre could suffice, but only if you take other precautions, such as facing away from each other and keeping interactions brief.

The government says to keep washing your hands more often, including when you get home, before you eat or handle food and after you blow your nose, cough or sneeze.

The advice on handwashing remains the same – to use soap and water for 20 seconds and hand sanitiser if this isn’t available.

For more information about how to make a face covering, visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

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