Face coverings: what you need to know
As you are aware, the Government recently announced that, from Friday 24th July, face coverings will be required when inside shops. To help explain this (why it has been implemented and what a face covering is) we have gathered this helpful information from the Government website.
What is a face covering?
In the context of COVID-19, a face covering is considered to be something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy single-use or reusable face coverings in the form of a face mask, however you may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth. These must fit securely around the side of your face. Face coverings do not need to be PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) standard as they are largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection.
Why has this been implemented?
Coronavirus spreads predominantly from droplets in coughs and sneezes, which can be picked up from surfaces and transferred to your face through touch. The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.
Face coverings are designed to protect others from the spread of infection, not the wearer. That’s why they should not be considered a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing.
Important things to remember when wearing a face covering
- Your face covering should be secured with ties or ear loops and fit comfortably allowing you to breathe easily
- Your face covering should be made from at least 2 (preferably 3) layers of fabric
- Your face covering should be able to be washed with other items of laundry without becoming damaged (this does not apply to disposable ones)
- You should wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitiser before putting on your face covering or removing it, and again once removed
- You should avoid wearing your face covering on your neck or forehead
- You should not share a face mask with anyone else
When to wear a face covering
In England, you must wear a face covering when using public transport or when inside shops or supermarkets.
Exceptions to wearing a face covering
You do not have to wear a face covering where they are mandated if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:
- Young children under the age of 11
- Inability to remove/put on face covering due to physical or mental illness, impairment or disability
- If putting on, wearing or removing the face covering will cause severe distress
- If you need to eat, drink or take medication
- If you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
To see a complete list, or read more information about the face covering requirements, please visit the Government website.