UK issues new guidance on mandatory face coverings in England

The British government has issued its full guidance on mandatory face covering in shops in England, one day before the rules are due to come into force.

According to the government guidance issued on Thursday, face coverings would be mandatory since Friday for all customers in enclosed public spaces including supermarkets, indoor shopping centers, transport hubs, banks and post offices.

Face coverings must also be worn when buying takeaway food and drink, although can be removed by customers in seating areas.

People who fail to wear a face covering could be fined up to 100 pounds (127 U.S. dollars), apart from those with medical conditions and children under 11.

It is not compulsory for shop workers to wear face coverings but the government said it “strongly” recommended that employers consider their use where appropriate.

Police will have powers to enforce the rules, but only “as a last resort” and officers will not be patrolling premises.

The British government said it was the responsibility of individuals to wear a face covering.

Earlier this month, Downing Street said there was growing evidence that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus.

As attitudes to masks have changed around the world, there has been a reported increase in the use of face coverings by people in England, Scotland and Wales. More than half of adults surveyed by the Office for National Statistics in the first week of July said they used a face covering while outside their home.

Since mid-May, the British government has advised the public to wear face-coverings in enclosed public spaces. Wearing face-coverings has been compulsory since mid-June on public transport in England and at the National Health Service (NHS) facilities across Britain.