When to wear a face covering
From 30 November 2021, there are some places where you must wear a face covering by law, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse (see the ‘When you do not need to wear a face covering’ section below).
In England, you must wear a face covering in the following indoor settings (examples are given in brackets):
- shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
- shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
- auction houses
- post offices, banks, building societies, high street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
- estate and letting agents
- premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (barbers, hair salons, tattoo and piercing studios, nail salons and massage centres)
- premises providing veterinary services
- retail galleries
- retail travel agents
- takeaways without space for consumption of food or drink on premises
- public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams, buses, coaches and ferries), taxis and private hire vehicles
- any car or small van during a professionally delivered driving lesson, a practical driving test, or during one of the practical tests for giving driving instruction, and in all HGV lessons and tests
- transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
Staff within these settings, except some transport workers (see the ‘Face coverings at work’ section below), are required to wear face coverings when they are in a part that is open to the public. Staff may also wear face coverings when working in settings where face coverings are not required, and businesses are encouraged to support them in doing so.
You are required to wear a face covering on entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse for removing it. Examples of what would usually be a reasonable excuse are listed in the ‘If you are not able to wear a face covering’ section below.
You should continue to wear a face covering in other indoor places that are not listed above, which are crowded and enclosed and where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Face coverings are not legally required in hospitality settings given that they cannot be worn while eating and drinking (see the ‘When you do not need to wear a face covering’ section below).
Face coverings and face masks are needed in healthcare settings to comply with infection, prevention, control (IPC) guidance. This includes hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They should also be worn by everyone accessing or visiting care homes.
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