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Woman Shopping Photo: Anna Shvets

UK Issues Mask Wearing Guidance

July 24 marks the introduction of new regulations requiring the use of masks in more public settings

Published on July 23, 2020

From Friday July 24, new rules will be introduced requiring more people in the UK to wear masks in public areas. Those who do not comply with the new regulations could be fined up to £100. There are exemptions in place for children under the age of 11, and those with specific health conditions or disabilities. Explaining the regulations, Health Secretary Matt Hancock 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." Here a few of the key takeaways from the guidance:

Where you should wear a mask

From July 24, members of the public should wear a face covering - this can be a fabric covering, a bandana or scarf - that covers the face and nose. It will be compulsory to wear masks:

• In shops;
• In supermarkets;
• In shopping precincts;
• In Transport Hubs
• On Public Transport; • In banks, building societies and post offices.

The Government has also clarified wearing a mask in takeaway shops, saying that "It will be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. If you are in a premises where you are able to sit down and consume food or drink that you have bought, then you can remove your face covering in order to eat and drink on-site."

The Government also advises wearing masks in other enclosed public spaces, as well as continuing to employ rigorous hygiene practices such as hand washing and social distancing.

Where it won't be mandatory to wear a mask

The Government has specified certain venues where it won't be mandatory to wear a mask, although do consult the website or contact the venue in question, as some locations may continue to maintain a mask-wearing policy. Venues where it isn't mandatory to wear a mask include:

• Eat-in restaurants and pubs;
• Hairdressers and other treatment salons;
• Gyms and leisure centres;
• Cinemas, concert halls and theatres;
• Visitor attractions (such as heritage sites or museums);
• Dentists or opticians.

Who is exempt from having to wear a mask

Regardless of the venue, the Government has outlined circumstances where an individual is exempt from having to wear a mask, including:

• Children under the age of 11;
• Those with health conditions related to breathing and respiration, conditions affecting dexterity (where an individual is unable to put on a mask), meantl health conditions such as anxiety and panic attacks, other non-visible disabilities such as autism, cognitive impairments (for example those with dementia), those with visual impairments with a restricted field of vision, and impairments which would make it difficult to put a mask on and off (safely, accurately and consistently) without pain.

For the full press release from the Government, go to www.gov.uk


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