The rules on wearing masks in restaurants and cafes

Friday, 24th July 2020, 1:53 pm
Updated Friday, 24th July 2020, 1:55 pm

It is now mandatory to wear face masks in restaurants, takeaways and coffee shops in England.

The change in rules, coming after face coverings were already made compulsory on public transport in England on June 15, marks a stricter approach from the UK government in tackling the spread of the coronavirus.

Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis confirmed customers are required to wear a face mask in takeaway and coffee shop outlets.

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Mr Lewis said, in cases where customers are paying for food or drink and taking it away with them, they must wear a mask to do so.Such rules do not apply if you are sitting down to eat or drink inside an establishment, as is the case for pubs and restaurants.

Mr Lewis also confirmed people are required to wear masks in high street banks and indoor petrol stations, as well as shops and supermarkets, as these effectively constitute a retail outlet.

Additionally, government guidance encourages people in England to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces, in which it is more difficult to observe social distancing, or where people aremore likely to come into contact with others they would not normally meet.

People are not yet being told to wear masks outdoors while exercising or in schools or offices.

The government has said, while a face covering does not protect the wearer, it is beneficial as it may protect others from contracting an infection.

This is particularly the case if other people are infected with the virus, but have not yet developed any symptoms.

Some people will be exempt from wearing face coverings in shops.Government guidance states that you do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to do so.

These include ...Young children under the age of 11Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, impairment or disabilityIf putting on, wearing or removing a face covering causes severe distressIf you are travelling with, or providing assistance, to someone who relies on lip reading to communicateTo avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or othersTo avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, if you do not have a face covering with youTo eat or drinkTo take medicationIf a police officer or other official requests you remove your face coveringIt is also not compulsory for shop or supermarket staff to wear face coverings, although it is recommended where appropriate and other mitigating measures are not in place, such as screens or visors.These exemptions also apply to wearing masks on public transport.

All other members of the public who do not fall into any of these categories must comply with the rules.

Those who do not comply with the new measures could face fines of up to £100, although this figure will be reduced to £50 if people pay within 14 days.

Should people who are not exempt from the rules refuse to wear a face covering, a shop has the right to refuse them entry.

Shops can also call the police in the event of non-compliance, with police given the formal enforcement powers to issue a fine. Socially distancing still applies.