Q&A: Where do I need to wear a mask and who’s exempt?

PUBLISHED: 08:25 24 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:56 24 July 2020

Where do you need to wear a face covering when out and about on the high street? Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Where do you need to wear a face covering when out and about on the high street? Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN


Confused about where you need to wear a facemask? You’re not alone.

The government has issued somewhat unclear advice on where the public will need to wear face coverings as of July 24.

From today the public has been told they need to wear masks when visiting a wider variety of businesses.

This week the government has also increased the number of people who are exempt.

MORE: Norwich one of UK’s slowest cities to recover from virus, according to report

- Where do I need to wear face coverings from today?

Face coverings will be mandatory in “enclosed public spaces” from today, as well as on public transport.

This includes venues such as supermarkets, shops and transport hubs.

On top of this, face coverings must be worn in banks, building societies and post offices.

Confusion has arisen around whether or not coverings need to be worn into cafes and sandwich shops – but the document state: “it is compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to takeaway from cafes and shops”.

For people who are sitting in the café or shop to eat their meal, they will not have to wear a mask.

- Where do I not wear a mask?

You do not have to wear a mask when at the hairdressers or in “close contact services”.

You also do not have to wear a mask at eat-in restaurants or cafes, or at entertainment venues like cinemas.

Visitor attractions such as museums are also exempt, as are gyms and leisure centres.

Although face coverings must be worn in hospitals, it is not mandatory for them to be worn in opticians and dental surgeries.

The document also suggests that as of July 25 further guidance will be given on swimming pools and water parks, indoor fitness and dance studios, gyms and sport courts.

- Who is exempt?

The list of people who are exempt from wearing face masks has grown.

Children under the age of 11 are exempt, as are a range of people with varying health conditions.

This includes those with breathing difficulties, dexterity problems, mental health conditions such as anxiety, non-visible disabilities, cognitive impairments such as dementia, and visual impairments.

The government goes on to say people do not have to wear a mask if they have a “legitimate reason not to”.

This includes being asked to take off your face covering by a police officer or retail assistant for identification purposes.

- Will there be a fine if I don’t?

Anyone who doesn’t abide by the regulations - and is not exempt under one of the categories set out in the regulations - could face a fine by the police of up to £100, as is currently the case on public transport.

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