Coronavirus: Face masks to be compulsory in shops across England

The government has announced face masks and coverings will be a legal requirement when entering a shop in England from 24 July. 


Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it would “give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops.”


Scotland as well as Spain, Italy and Germany already have this rule implemented.


It comes after a report was published showing the possible consequences of a second wave of coronavirus this winter.


Since mid-May, the public have been strongly advised to consider wearing a face mask in public areas.  Face masks were made a legal requirement when using public transport or entering an NHS facility since 15 June.


Those with disabilities and children under 11 years old will be exempt.


Matt Hancock, in the House of Commons said: “The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher amongst men and 60% higher amongst women than in the general population.”


However, the new rule will not apply to retail staff.


Environment Secretary George Eustice said the reasoning between the delay from the announcement to the rule coming into effect was to “give people time to prepare”.


The new rules will be enforced by the police and those who fail to comply will face a fine of up to £100.


Shops can refuse entry and call the police if a person refuses to follow the new rules.