FACE COVERINGS: THE RULES
CONFUSED about who should wear face coverings, when and where? You’re not alone! The rules have changed so much lately, it has been hard to keep up. Here’s a guide to what the rules are across the UK, as First News went to press.
WHO HAS TO USE THEM?
Most of the rules apply to those aged 11 or over, but younger children can use face coverings if they want. Many shops are selling coverings and masks for kids.
You don’t have to use a face covering if you have a physical or mental illness or disability that makes it hard for you. If you care for a deaf person who relies on lip reading, you don’t need to use a covering. You also don’t have to wear one in public if you are eating, drinking or taking medicine.
ENGLAND: Individual secondary schools can demand pupils use coverings in communal areas, where social distancing is not possible. They will not have to wear them in classrooms. Coverings are obligatory in all secondary schools and colleges that are in areas where local lockdowns or COVID-19 restrictions are in place, such as Oldham and Northampton. There are no requirements for face coverings in primary schools.
SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND: All secondary pupils in Scotland and Northern Ireland must wear face coverings in corridors and communal areas. They will not have to wear them in classrooms. On school transport, those aged over five must wear face coverings in Scotland.
WALES: Individual schools can set their own rules, but the Welsh government advises all those aged 11 and over to wear coverings where social distancing is hard to maintain.
ENGLAND, SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN
IRELAND: Face coverings must be worn in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres by all people aged 11 and over. Failure to wear a covering can be punished by a police fine of up to £100 in England, or £60 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
WALES: There is no requirement to wear a face covering in Welsh shops.
OTHER INDOOR SITES
ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND: Over-11s must wear face coverings in almost all public indoor locations, including libraries, cinemas, banks, building societies, post offices and places of worship. Where it is “impractical” to wear a covering – such as in a restaurant, café or gym – it is not obligatory.
WALES: As with shops, there is no rule requiring people to use face coverings in other public indoor spaces.
ENGLAND, WALES, SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND: Face coverings must be worn at all times on all public transport, but this applies to those aged 5+ in Scotland, 11+ in England and Wales, and 13+ in Northern Ireland.