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latest on compulsory coverings, fines and who is exempt from wearing one



When will face masks be compulsory in shops?

The policy comes into play on July 24, although ministers made the announcement today in order to give ‘people time to prepare’, according to the Environment Secretary George Eustice.

Mr Hancock said: “The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher amongst men and 60% higher amongst women than in the general population.”

He added: “There is also evidence that face coverings increase confidence in people to shop.”

Staff themselves will not have to wear a mask. 

Will I be fined for wearing one after July 24?

Those who do not adhere to the rules face a fine of up to £100. It will be reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days.  Compulsory mask wearing will be enforced by police, according to the government, rather than shop owners and staff themselves, who can call the police or refuse the person entry.

Who is exempt from wearing a face mask?

According to the official Government guidance, the below groups are not required to wear a mask:

  • A child under the age of 11
  • An employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
  • A constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty
  • An emergency response member of staff, such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty
  • An official such as a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties
  • If you are on board public transport but remain in your own vehicle, such as a car ferry

Are there any exceptions to the rule?

Yes there are some exceptions, which the government have outlined as ‘reasonable’ reasons for not wearing a mask. These include if you’re travelling with someone who requires lip reading, if you suffer from severe distress when you put it on, suffer from a disability where you’re unable to put it on, or you need to eat, drink or take medication. 

Those who suffer from autism also don’t have to wear a mask, with the same applying to those who have an impairment which could be affected by putting on a covering. 

Are masks required on trains and buses?

The current guidance has required masks to be worn on public transport in England since June 15. Travel operators can refuse to let passengers on board if they are not covering their face – and those who refuse to follow the new protocol could face a fine. Exceptions apply for very young children, disabled people, and those who have breathing difficulties. 

Uber has had restrictions in place since June 15, with both drivers and passengers required to wear a mask whilst in the vehicle.

A paper published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change on June 12 said that transparent face shields of the sort used by hospital doctors and nurses should be used by transport workers, teachers and retail workers.

It advises that visors, like face masks, be used by the public to mitigate the risk of infection where social distancing is not possible.



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