Yes, unless you have a disability, certain health conditions or are under a certain age. Exemption badges are available for those who feel more comfortable wearing something that says you do not have to wear one but this is a personal choice. While everyone in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland now has to wear a face mask or other face covering, on public transport, young children, those with breathing difficulties and disabled people are exempt.
It is also mandatory for all hospital visitors and outpatients in England to wear face coverings. The government says: “Members of the public are strongly urged to attend hospital wearing a face covering, but a face mask will be provided in emergencies.“
Face masks have become part of daily life across Britain and from today (24 July), everyone in England must wear face coverings in shops, supermarkets, post offices, indoor shopping centres, transport hubs, banks and when buying takeaway food and drink to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The government has also announced that people in England should also wear face coverings in galleries, museums, cinemas and places of worship – a recommendation that will become law on 8 August.
Read on for the face mask rules in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – and where you can buy face masks online.
Wearing a face mask, or other face covering, in enclosed spaces, such as shops, supermarkets, GP surgeries and post offices, “may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others”. Officials have stressed that face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing but are “intended to protect others, not the wearer, from coronavirus” in places where it’s trickier to keep a large distance from people.
It is mandatory to wear face coverings when using public transport in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. People in Wales must wear face masks on public transport from 27 July.
Those who fail to wear one where required in England face a fine by the police of up to £100. Face coverings in “retail environments” were already compulsory in Scotland.
For travellers, the government has said that you should wear a face covering in the airport in England and you must wear one in Scotland. It is compulsory to wear a face mask on planes from England and Scotland too.