Face coverings to be compulsory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July

Date published: 14 July 2020

Face coverings will have to be worn in England’s shops and supermarkets from 24 July, health secretary Matt Hancock is expected to announce today (Tuesday 14 July).

Coverings must cover your nose and mouth, and do not require the use of medical masks, which are for the use of frontline staff.

The government has set out advice for people on how to make their own face coverings easily at home, using scarves or other textile items. These face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head to give a snug fit.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting your face covering on and after taking it off; and it is important that you don’t touch their face covering when wearing it, where possible, to avoid hand-to-mask transmission of the virus.

The public has been advised to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces – where they may meet people they wouldn’t usually – since 11 May, with the use of face coverings becoming mandatory on public transport a month later.

Regulations will be made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. Failure to comply will be punishable by a fine of up to £100, similar to those failing to wear a covering on public transport. The fine will reduce to £50 if paid within 14 days.

Retailers and businesses will not be expected to enforce the regulations, which will be carried out by police, but shop employees should ‘encourage’ compliance.

Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt, like on public transport.

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