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CORONAVIRUS: How the use of face mask rules are changing in the UK

After the government announced a delay to the planned easing of England’s lockdown last week, new rules surrounding face masks are set to come into force.

The prime minister warned the country “cannot be complacent” amid a rise in the prevalence of coronavirus in the community.

Measures due to be lifted at the start of August, including allowing small wedding receptions, reopening bowling alleys and casinos and pilots of larger gatherings in sports venues, were delayed for at least two weeks.

And in a strengthening of precautions, Johnson announced new face covering rules that will come into force on 8 August.

What are the current rules?

People in England have to have their nose and mouth covered in shops and takeaway outlets or they could face fines of up to £100.

People using public transport must also wear face coverings, but this rule was in place before shops were included on 24 July.

Other indoor venues – including shopping centre, banks, railway and bus stations and airports – are also included in the rules.

What are the new rules?

From Saturday, the list of places where you will have to wear face coverings will grow.

The prime minister said that face masks would be “encouraged” at more indoor areas, but those places will now face the same restrictions as the existing ones.

Places where you will have to wear a face covering from Saturday are:

  • Places of worship
  • Cinemas and theatres
  • Bingo halls
  • Museums and galleries
  • Funeral directors
  • Massage parlours
  • Concert halls
  • Libraries and public reading rooms
  • Community centres
  • Social clubs
  • Public areas in hotels and hostels
  • Aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms
  • Tattoo and piercing parlours
  • Indoor entertainment venues
  • Nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers
  • Auction houses
  • Veterinary services
  • Storage and distribution facilities
  • Premises providing professional, legal or financial services

What about exemptions?

Current exemptions to face coverings are the same. They are for those:

  • Under the age of 11
  • Not able to wear one due to a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability, or if wearing one will cause severe distress
  • Travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • Avoiding harm or injury to yourself or others
  • Avoiding injury and don’t have a face covering with you
  • Eating or drinking if reasonably necessary
  • Taking medication
  • Asked by a police officer or other official to remove your face covering

 

What happens if you don’t wear one?

Anyone failing to wear a face covering in anywhere where one is required will be subject to the same penalties – a fine of up to £100, or £50 if paid within 14 days, with enforcement carried out by police and not retail staff.

Last month, it emerged that passengers who do not wear face coverings on public transport can have “reasonable force” used against them by police.

The Department for Transport rules can be enforced by police and transport staff with fines of £100.

The prime minister said last week that, while most people are following the rules, there will be a “greater police presence” to ensure the public is adhering to requirements around face coverings.

What do you think?

Written by vozAfric

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