A face covering, which could be a disposable or reusable mask-type covering, or a scarf or other suitable fabric that fits securely around the side of the face, must be worn in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres, train stations and other indoor locations such as cinemas, libraries, museums and places of worship. Face coverings are also needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and GP surgeries.
It is also compulsory to wear one when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. People who have bought food or drink from a premises where it is possible to sit down are able to remove their face covering in order to eat and drink on site.
Wearing a face covering is not mandatory in other venues that have measures in place to protect staff and the public such as eat-in restaurants and pubs. More information on where it is mandatory to wear a face covering can be found at the gov.uk website.
Cllr Linda Haysey, Leader of East Herts Council, and Chair of the community reassurance cell of the Local Resilience Forum, said:
“Thank you to everyone in Hertfordshire who has followed the guidance and worn a face covering where it is mandatory. You are playing your part and helping control coronavirus in Hertfordshire but we’re not through this yet.
“It’s great that we can see family and friends, pop into town for a coffee, get a haircut and go for a drink in our local pubs. I’m sure we all want to keep it that way and one of the ways we can protect our communities is by continuing to wear face coverings.
“Always be prepared by carrying a face covering with you and using it carefully when it is needed. The best available scientific evidence states that when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.
“Remember that face coverings are not an alternative to social distancing, good hand washing and good hygiene. Taken together, these are the most important and effective measures that we can all take to prevent the spread of coronavirus.”
Businesses are encouraged to take reasonable steps to encourage customers to follow the law, including through signs and providing other information in store.
Children under the age of 11 and those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments, will also not be required to wear a face covering. A full list of those exempt can also be found on gov.uk.
Anyone who does not follow the regulations - and is not exempt under one of the categories set out in the regulations - could face a fine by the police of up to £100.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are a new, continuous cough, a temperature, or losing your sense of taste or smell. You can book a test online or by calling 119 if you don’t have access to the internet.