Face mask rules in England: Where you do and don’t have to wear them

·2 min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

On Thursday 27 January, the government is lifting Plan B restrictions in England, meaning various measures will no longer be in place, including those around face coverings.

From midnight, England will enter into Plan A regulations, meaning that face coverings will no longer be mandatory in certain places.

Previously, face coverings were required in the majority of indoor settings, including supermarkets, pharmacies, shopping centres, places of worship, and public transport.

This was the case for everyone by law unless you were exempt from wearing a face covering.

Now that the rules are changing, here’s everything you need to know about where you must wear face coverings.

Where don’t you have to wear a face covering?

From 00.01 on Thursday 27 January, face coverings will not be required by law in indoor venues.

Generally speaking, that includes shops, supermarkets, post offices, pharmacies, places of worship, museums and shopping centres.

However, certain companies or venues may choose to enforce their own rules regarding face coverings.

Where do you have to wear a face covering?

The government has said that local directors of public health are still able to temporarily recommend face coverings in communal areas but only in education settings and only where the department and public health experts judge the measures to be proportionate.

Additionally, infection prevention control guidance continues to require face coverings to be worn in health and care settings, including primary care and pharmacies.

While there are no rules regarding it, the government suggests that people still wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces, particularly when they come into contact with people they would not normally meet.

However, this will be at the discretion of the public and anyone not wearing a mask won’t be criminalised.

Despite the fact that the law no longer requires people to wear face coverings in indoor settings, various companies have announced that they will still be enforcing them.

For example, on Wednesday Sainsbury’s issued a statement asking customers to continue wearing face coverings in its stores even after Plan B restrictions lift.

“Safety remains our highest priority. From Thursday, we’re asking our customers and colleagues in England to continue to wear a face covering in our stores if they are able to,” a statement said.

“In Scotland and Wales face coverings remain mandatory for those who can wear them in our stores, in line with the latest government restrictions.

“We continue to have a range of safety measures in all of our stores, including screens and sanitising stations.”

Additionally, Sadiq Khan has confirmed that face coverings will remain mandatory on Transport for London (TfL) from Thursday unless you’re exempt.

“We cannot risk undoing all the hard work we’ve done to stop this virus in its tracks. Please keep wearing your mask,” he tweeted.

Other retailers, including John Lewis and Waitrose, have also asked shoppers and staff to keep wearing face masks.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting