New rules on face coverings come into force

Face coverings must now be worn in borough shops – with certain exemptions.

Coverings are compulsory in enclosed public spaces such as supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, transport hubs, banks and takeaways as part of the latest government guidance to tackle coronavirus.

Fines of up to £100 can be handed out for those who do not comply.

There are exemptions to the new rules. Those that do not have to wear masks include children under 11 and those with disabilities or certain health conditions that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.

Public Health England has warned parents not to buy coverings for babies and young children because of the risk of choking or suffocation.

People can print out a card from the government’s website to show they are exempt – but ministers have stressed people will not be expected to carry proof of an exemption.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

It is critical that we all work together to do everything we can to keep coronavirus in check.

Wearing face coverings will help – and I would remind residents that we should all be doing that from today in shops and other certain enclosed public spaces.

Certain people will be exempt for very good reasons, and we need to make sure as a community that they are not perceived negatively for that. We’re all in it together, and with the help and co-operation of everyone, we can beat this virus.

Masks will not be mandatory in indoor venues that have other safety measures in place, including eat-in restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and salons, gyms and leisure centres, visitor attractions, libraries and cinemas, concert halls and theatres.

For guidance on the rules, as well as to print an exemption card, go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own

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