Face coverings are now mandatory in additional enclosed public spaces in England, including supermarkets, shopping centers and transport hubs.
New government guidelines published on Thursday state that the requirement would go into effect Friday for everyone over the age of 11. People with disabilities or certain health conditions that make it difficult for them to wear masks, including breathing difficulties or cognitive impairments, are exempt.
The new requirement is “an important step in lifting lockdown” measures and “the public are encouraged to play their part.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 255,740 cases of the novel coronavirus in England and more than 40,950 people have died.
“The government is telling the public to play their part and wear face coverings in order to help fight the spread of the virus, enabling further easing of national restrictions,” the guidelines stated. “The responsibility for wearing a face covering sits with individuals. Businesses are encouraged to take reasonable steps to encourage customers to follow the law, including through signs and providing other information in store.”
People will also be required to cover their nose and mouth when in banks and post offices and while buying food and drinks to take away from cafes and shops. The face covering may be removed if the person is dining on-site.
Face masks must be worn in indoor train stations and terminals, airports and indoor bus stations and terminals.
Any non-exempt person not abiding by the new guidelines could face a fine by the police of up to £100 ($127).
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“The police have been very clear throughout the pandemic,” the announcement states, “that they will ‘engage, explain, encourage and finally enforce as a last resort.'”
Face coverings will not be mandatory “in other venues that have measures in place to protect staff and the public from COVID-19,” including eat-in restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, movie theaters, concert venues, dentists and museums.