When do I have to wear a face covering in shops?

Face coverings must be worn in shops from July 24, or you may face a fine. Picture: Andrew Milligan/

Face coverings must be worn in shops from July 24, or you may face a fine. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Images - Credit: Archant

From tomorrow (Friday, July 24), it will be compulsory to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets in England, and full guidance for residents has now been released by the government.

Coverings will now be mandatory in all shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, takeaway queues, banks and post offices – having already been made compulsory on public transport.

Those who ignore the new rule could face a fine of £100, which would be halved if paid within 14 days.

There are exemptions for children under 11, those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.

Shop staff may also ask you to remove your mask to see your whole face for the purpose of age identification, for example when buying alcohol, cigarettes, or lottery tickets.

Urging the public to “play their part and to abide by these restrictions”, environment secretary George Eustice MP said retailers and shoppers have responsibilities before the police will be asked to step in.

Leading supermarkets have said they will take the guidelines serously, but won’t “challenge customers” in the aisles, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson has said.

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The British Retail Consortium welcomed the “clarity” on face coverings and believes it will “give people the confidence to return to our high streets and shopping centres.”

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