Here’s how much you could be fined for not wearing a face mask in shops

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 12:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 12:28 pm
Boris Johnson announced on 12 July that face masks will become mandatory to wear in shops in England, from Friday 24 July (Photo: Shutterstock)
Boris Johnson announced on 12 July that face masks will become mandatory to wear in shops in England, from Friday 24 July (Photo: Shutterstock)

Boris Johnson announced on 12 July that face masks will become mandatory to wear in shops in England, from Friday 24 July.

This rule will be enforced by police, who have the power to fine you if you don’t have a good reason for going without a face covering in shops. But how much could flouting the rules cost you?

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Here’s what you need to know.

How much will I get fined if I don’t wear a face mask in shops?

Shoppers will have to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets in England from 24 July, with £100 fines in place for those who refuse. This will reduce to £50 if paid within 14 days.

The wearing of face masks in shops will become the law, and regulations will be made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, which is the same law used as the basis for many lockdown restrictions.

Enforcement will be carried out by the police, as Downing Street has said that, although shop employees should encourage compliance with the rules, they will not be expected to enforce the policy.

Where do I need to wear a face mask?

Face masks became compulsory to wear on public transport on 15 June, with them set to become mandatory for shoppers to wear in shops in England, including clothing stores and supermarkets, from 24 July.

In Scotland, face coverings became compulsory on public transport on 22 June and in shops on 10 July.

In Northern Ireland, face coverings became mandatory on public transport on 10 July, and the same rule will apply in Wales from 27 July.

However, wearing a face covering doesn’t mean that social distancing and hygiene measures shouldn’t be carried out.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) explains, “Masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission and save lives; the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection against Covid-19.

“You should also maintain a minimum physical distance of at least 1 metre from others, frequently clean your hands and avoid touching your face and mask.”

Who is exempt?

Children under 11, those who can't wear a covering without suffering severe distress, or who have difficulty using it due to a physical or mental disability are exempt from wearing face coverings.

It is thought that other exemptions will follow the list already used on public transport, which includes anyone who is being relied on by a deaf person for lipreading, police or public transport staff, emergency responders, or people while they are taking medication.

What type of face covering do I need to wear?

The law will define a face "covering", which can be a piece of cloth - it doesn’t have to be a surgical mask. However, the face covering must cover your nose and mouth.