New rules on face coverings have come into force in England, extending the number of places they need to be worn.
The changes were announced by the prime minister at a press conference on July 31, and came into force on Saturday, August 8.
Masks have been mandatory in shops for several weeks, and on public transport since mid-June – but the list has now been extended to include other venues that have recently reopened as Covid-19 restrictions have lifted.
Face coverings now must be worn in museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship by all members of the public, with the exception of children under 11 and people with illnesses or disabilities that prevent them from comfortable wearing a mask.
Announcing the changes at the end of July, Boris Johnson said: “We will also extend the requirement to wear a face covering to other indoor settings where you are likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet, such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship.
“We now recommend face coverings are worn in these settings, and this will become enforceable in law from August 8.”
The PM added: “Most people in this country are following the rules and doing their best to control the virus.
“But we must keep our discipline and our focus and we cannot be complacent.
“I have asked the home secretary to work with the police and others to ensure the rules which are already in place are properly enforced.”
He said this would mean “a greater police presence to ensure face coverings are being worn where this is required”.
Where do I need to wear a mask?
The full list of places you now have to wear a face covering now includes:
- Public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
- Transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
- Shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
- Shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
- Auction houses
- Premises providing professional, legal or financial services (post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)
- Premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
- Premises providing veterinary services
- Visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, funfairs, theme parks)
- Libraries and public reading rooms
- Places of worship
- Funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
- Community centres, youth centres and social clubs
- Public areas in hotels and hostels
- Storage and distribution facilities
What are the exceptions?
According to the government’s website, face coverings do not need to be worn if a person fits into any of the following criteria:
- Children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
- People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- Employees of indoor settings (or people acting on their behalf, such as someone leading part of a prayer service) or transport workers (see section 6) - although employers may consider their use where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place, in line with Covid-19 Secure guidelines
- Police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public
- Where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
- To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others - including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity
Some day-to-day interactions or activities can also be complicated by wearing a mask. Therefore, the government has also published a list of reasonable scenarios where a face covering can be temporarily removed:
- If asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office for identification
- If asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, for assessing health recommendations (e.g. by a pharmacist), or for age identification purposes including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol
- If required in order to receive treatment or services, for example when getting a haircut
in order to take medication
- If you are delivering a sermon or prayer in a place or worship
- If you are the persons getting married in a relevant place
- If you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact your ability to do so
People eating and drinking in bars and restaurants with table service also do not have to wear face coverings during their visit.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.