Where do I need to wear a mask after 19 July?

Face coverings and social distancing will no longer be required by law from Monday

Kate Ng
Friday 16 July 2021 12:58
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Shoppers ‘expected’ to wear face masks after legal requirement ends

People in England will no longer be required by law to wear face masks from Monday, when remaining coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

However, the government has said that people will still be expected to wear face masks in certain situations. Some businesses, travel operators and local politicians have also said masks will still be required to use services.

Here’s everything you need to know about where you will need to wear a face covering after restrictions ease:

What will the rules on masks in England be?

From 19 July, people in England will no longer be required by law to wear face masks in certain settings.

But the government’s latest guidance, issued on Wednesday, says it “expects and recommends” that masks be worn by workers and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces such as public transport.

Do I still need to carry a mask everywhere?

It is probably best not to be too quick to throw your mask away, as health leaders, local politicians, shop bosses and transport chiefs have all said they will continue to require or encourage people to wear face coverings.

Some premises, some bus and train services, hospitals and GP surgeries may still require you to wear a mask in order to enter.

Do people need masks to go to the shop?

The major supermarket chains, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons and Waitrose, have all said they will encourage all customers and staff to continue wearing masks in their supermarkets from 19 July.

Staff and customers at Waitrose and John Lewis have also been recommended to continue wearing masks, but the John Lewis Partnership said it will ultimately be up to individual judgement.

How about in the hospital or GP practice?

Staff, patients and visitors in all NHS settings must continue to wear face masks and observe social distancing, Public Health England (PHE) has said.

PHE said infection prevention measures and visiting guidance are set to continue across all health services including hospitals, GP practices, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies, to ensure patients and staff are protected.

How about on public transport?

Face coverings will continue to be compulsory in some locally operated public transport spaces.

People in West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire will have to continue wearing face masks in bus stations operated by the combined authorities, while passengers using the Metro in the north east of England will also be required to wear a face covering.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also said face coverings will be required on Transport for London (TfL) services as a “condition of carriage”.

This means enforcement officers would be able to deny access or eject passengers found to be non-compliant while using the TfL network.

Face coverings will also remain compulsory on Greater Manchester’s Metrolink tram services and the Heathrow Express.

What have other transport providers said?

Cross-Channel train firm Eurostar and airlines such as British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair will continue to require passengers to wear face masks after restrictions ease, while Heathrow Airport said that face masks will continue to be mandatory.

But the train industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) announced that all domestic train operators, such as Avanti West Coast, TransPennine Express and Southeastern, will not require passengers to wear face coverings.

It said rail companies will ask people to follow the government guidance and, out of respect for others, wear face coverings if an indoor setting is busy.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), which represents major bus and coach operators such as National Express and Megabus, has also said that its members will not mandate the wearing of face coverings from Monday.

Are the rules on public transport different in different parts of the country?

Elected regional mayors across England have warned that without a continued national mandate there would be a “ridiculous mismatch” of rules across the country that will be “confusing” for passengers.

The Labour metro mayors for West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, North of Tyne, west of England and South Yorkshire have urged the government to continue to make face coverings compulsory on all public transport beyond the lifting of restrictions.

What are the rules in Scotland and Wales?

In Wales, face coverings will continue to be required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport when coronavirus restrictions are lifted next month, while in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said face covering measures are likely to remain for “some time to come”.

Wales plans to ease some restrictions on 17 July, with almost all coronavirus measures lifted from 7 August, but it will remain the law to wear a face mask on public transport and in most indoor settings.

The Welsh government will lift the requirement for people to wear masks as soon as the public health situation allows, first minister Mark Drakeford has said.

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