Face coverings must be worn when you go into a shop

Updated guidance on face coverings

Face coverings are mandatory in healthcare settings, GP surgeries, hospitals, public transport, shops and supermarkets. They are also recommended when sharing cars with those outside of your household, and when you find yourself unable to maintain a 2 metre distance indoors with others from outside your household.

From Saturday 8 August it will be compulsory to wear a face covering in museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship. Read more on GOV.UK.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread by droplets from coughs, sneezes and through speaking, shouting or singing. These droplets can also be picked up from surfaces, particularly if you touch a surface and then touch your face. This is why wearing a face covering is so important in controlling the spread of the virus.

When used correctly, face coverings may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances. Because face coverings are mainly intended to protect others from coronavirus (COVID-19) they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing. However, if everyone within a setting wears a face covering, everyone is more protected, including yourself.

To be effective, face coverings should:

  • cover your both your nose and mouth
  • fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
  • be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
  • include at least two layers of fabric, ideally three
  • unless disposable, it should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged

Users should heed the following guidance when putting on and taking off face coverings:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on and before removing a face covering
  • avoid wearing face coverings on your neck or forehead
  • avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
  • change the face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
  • only handle the straps, ties or clips
  • do not share with anyone else
  • if single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
  • if reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed

Visit GOV.UK for more information on face coverings, including who is exempt.

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