COVID-19: Regulations Requiring Wearing of Face Coverings in Shops Come into Force in England

By Haya Syed

Following the unprecedented times of COVID-19, on 23rd July 2020, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 were made. These regulations require members of the public to wear face masks at all costs while inside a ‘relevant place’ (which is specified in the regulations).

The regulations came into force on 24th July; before then it was still acceptable for one to be without a face covering in public. This is not the case anymore, and anyone in breach of the regulations will incur a £100 penalty.

Schedule 1 of the regulations lists relevant places where face masks have become a mandatory accessory to wear. These include shops, shopping centres, banks, post offices, enclosed areas and grocery stores. Part 2 of the schedule contains a list of formations that are not defined as ‘shops’. These include eat-in restaurants and pubs, hairdressers and salons, gyms and cinemas.

Public transport such as trains, buses and railway stations are also amongst the very places where it is compulsory to wear face coverings. However, regulation 3 exempts children under the age of 1, employees acting in the course of their employment, and the person responsible for the ‘relevant place’ from wearing a face covering. Additionally, regulation 4 sets out instances where a person will have a reasonable excuse to not wear a face covering, such as when they are eating or drinking.


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