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What do the new laws on face masks say?

Posted on: 30/07/2020

What do the new laws on face masks say? 

People will need to wear a face covering in shopping centres, banks, takeaway outlets, sandwich shops and supermarkets under new regulations which came into force in England today. 

The Government is bringing new laws into force which could see people who flout the rules get slapped with a fine. Here, we take a look at the new legislation.

- What has changed?

New laws called The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 have been published and were brought into force today.

- What does the law say?

No-one can go enter certain buildings like shops without a face covering - which covers your face and nose - unless they have a reasonable excuse.

Face coverings must be worn in: shops and shopping centres; banks; building societies; credit unions; short-term loan providers; savings clubs and currency exchange offices; anywhere that transmits money by cash or cheque; post offices. 

A reasonable excuse includes: where a person cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of physical or mental illness, impairment or disability; when accompanying someone who relies on lip reading; to avoid or escape harm or injury to themselves or others; in order to eat and drink or take medication.

- Are there any exemptions?

Yes. The rules do not apply to children under the age of 11, employees working in the business in question or public transport staff, police officers, other emergency workers and officials. 

Premises which are exempt include: restaurants with table service and bars, including those in hotels or members' clubs; pubs; libraries; law firms; medical and dental practices; vets; cinemas; theatres; museums and galleries; aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites; nightclubs; bingo halls; concert halls, public halls; conference centres; indoor fitness studios; gyms; leisure centres; indoor swimming pools; water parks; bowling alleys; funfairs; theme parks; amusement arcades; indoor soft play areas; indoor sports arenas; casinos; hotels; spas; beauty salons and hairdressers; tattoo and piercing parlours; storage centres; funeral directors; photography studios and auction houses.

- What happens if I break the rules?

You can be told to put on a face covering or leave the premises by police or transport officers. Police officers can escort someone from a building for refusing to follow the rules and can use reasonable force if necessary. You could be fined £100, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days, or even prosecuted.

- How long will the rules be in force?

The rules must be reviewed by the Government within six months of the law being brought into force, which is January 24 2021. Ultimately the law expires after a year unless the Government scraps it beforehand.