Should children wear face masks in UK stores and supermarkets?


In less than a week, your trip to the supermarket or store is about to change. Since Friday, July 24, the government has made it mandatory to wear face masks in stores and supermarkets to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Which means that for anyone who hasn’t already been, you will need to buy or make yourself a pretty sharp mask or else you will be breaking the law.

However, there have been a number of questions about wearing face masks in stores.

Do all shop workers have to wear face masks? And who is exempt from wearing face masks?

Along with the big announcement, the government produced a list of information on who and who should not wear a face mask.

For those who have children in particular, you might be wondering if they should wear face masks as well?

Who doesn’t need to wear a face mask?

Children under 11 are included in the exempted categories

Store or supermarket staff are not required to wear headgear, but other measures should be put in place.

This means that if there is a screen or visor, or if a worker is away from people, a face covering may not be necessary.

The good news for parents who panic about wearing a mask on a restless child is that if your child is under 11, they don’t have to wear a blanket.

If you or your child / adolescent has a physical, mental, impairment or handicap which means that you are unable to put on or wear a face mask, you are also exempt.

You also do not need to wear one if putting it on, wearing it or taking it off will cause you great distress.

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Here are some of the other exemptions:

  • if you travel with or provide assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • to avoid damage or injury, or the risk of injury, to yourself or others
  • to avoid injury, or to escape the risk of injury, and you do not have a face shield with you
  • eat or drink, but only if you need to
  • to take pills
  • if a police or other official asks you to remove your face mask

You may be allowed to remove a face mask if requested by store staff for age identification purposes or to speak with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.


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