Covid: As mask-wearing rules return to England, what exactly is the law?

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As part of targeted measures to prevent the spread of the new variant of Covid-19 Omicron, starting at 4 a.m. on November 30, people in England will be required by law to wear face coverings in certain places.

The measure will be introduced as a precaution while more information is gathered and assessed on the transmissibility of the variant and any possible effect on Covid-19 vaccines, Downing Street said.

Face coverings are compulsory in businesses and establishments such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as in public transport, unless individuals are exempt. Host establishments are excluded from the regulations, with the exception of take-away meals which do not offer the consumption of food or drinks on site.

Boris Johnson said: “The measures that come into effect today are proportionate and responsible, and will save us time in the face of this new variant. Based on everything we know, our vaccines and booster shots remain our best line of defense, so it’s more important than ever that people come forward when they are eligible for a booster.

“Not only will today’s measures help us slow the spread of the variant, but they will help us protect each other and the gains we have all worked so hard for. “

The measurements will be reviewed in three weeks.

Where you will need to wear a face cover

The new rule applies to:

  • All public transport, including taxis and private rental vehicles, and transport hubs (airports, train and tram stations and terminals.
    seaports and terminals, bus and bus stations and terminals)
  • Stores and supermarkets and generally places that offer goods or services for retail or rental, closed shopping malls and indoor markets.
  • Take-out meals without space for the consumption of food or drink on site.
  • Premises offering personal care and beauty treatments such as hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centers, tattoo and piercing studios.
  • Auction houses and retail galleries.
  • Post Office.
  • Banks, building societies, notaries and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs, and money-service businesses.
  • Real estate and rental agents and retail travel agents.
  • Pharmacies.
  • Veterans.

Wearing a mask is also compulsory during driving lessons and driving tests.

Where you don’t have to wear a face cover

All hospitality venues are exempt, including pubs, restaurants, cafes and canteens, bars, restaurants and bars in hotels or member clubs, and shisha bars.

Photography studios, as well as premises – other than approved pharmacies – providing medical or dental services, audiology, podiatry, chiropractic, osteopathy, optometry or other services are also exempt. medical, including mental health services.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

People who do not wear a face cover when they have to can be fined in the form of a flat-rate fine notice and £ 200, up to £ 400 for the second offense and to £ 800 for the third, up to a maximum of £ 6,400 in the case of a sixth notice of fixed fine and subsequent ones.

Who will control this new law?

The new requirement to wear a face covering in certain places can be enforced by a police officer, a police community support officer, a TfL officer, staff of public transport operators or any person designated by the secretary of the public transport system. State for the purposes of these regulations.

These persons can order a person to wear a face covering or order that person to leave the area concerned and, when a person does not comply with a direction given to him by an officer, the officer can remove from the affected location.

Prosecution for an offense under these new regulations may be brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, Transport for London or any other person designated by the Secretary of State for the purposes of these regulations.

All contacts of suspected Omicron cases should self-isolate, regardless
their age or vaccination status. They will be contacted by test and trace from the NHS, Downing Street said.

The term of the face mask will expire at the end of December 20, 2021.


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