WEARING a face covering in shops, takeaways and coffee shops will be compulsory in England from tomorrow, with shoppers facing a £100 fine if they fail to do so.

While Herefordshire has seen a coronavirus outbreak at a vegetable farm recently, the number of new cases in the community remains low.

But if you're heading into Hereford city centre, or one of the market towns, for shopping tomorrow or over the weekend, you will need to wear a face covering.

Here's everything you need to know.

Where do you need to wear a face covering?

  • Shops
  • Supermarkets
  • Sandwich shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Take-aways
  • Public transport

If customers sit down to eat or drink, they will be able to remove their face covering in that area.

Hereford Times: You will have to wear a face covering in coffee shops from July 24You will have to wear a face covering in coffee shops from July 24

The additional rules were confirmed by the Department of Health ahead of new regulations coming into force on Friday, July 24.

READ MORE: You DO need to wear one if you're getting coffee or food

As well as shops and supermarkets, face coverings must be worn in banks, building societies and post offices. 

Where do you not have to wear a face covering?

Wearing a face covering will not be made mandatory in other venues that have measures in place to protect staff and the public from COVID-19. These include: 

  • Eat-in restaurants and pubs;
  • Hairdressers and other treatment salons
  • Gyms and leisure centres
  • Cinemas, concert halls and theatres; 

For transport hubs in England, the requirements mean face coverings must be worn in indoor train stations and terminals, airports, maritime ports, and indoor bus and coach stations or terminals.


Does everyone have to wear a covering?

Those not required to wear a covering include:

  • Children under the age of 11
  • People with breathing problems
  • Anyone who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment or disability.

How do you prove you're exempt?

The British Medical Association have published information as to what you do and don't need to do regarding this.

It comes after practices reported an increase in requests from patients for letters of exemption to wearing face masks in various public settings.

Hereford Times: You don't have to get an exemption letter from your GPYou don't have to get an exemption letter from your GP

On their website, the British Medical Association states: "The Government guidance suggests there is no requirement for evidence for exemption.

"It should be sufficient for someone to declare that they are eligible for an exemption direct with the person questioning them (eg bus driver).

"Practices are therefore not required to provide letters of support for those who fall under the list of exemptions, or to those who do not fall under the list of exemptions."

READ MORE: What health chiefs say about proving your exempt

Can you be fined for not wearing one?

Anyone who doesn’t abide by the regulations - and is not exempt under one of the categories set out in the regulations - could face a fine by the police of up to £100, as is currently the case on public transport.

This will be reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days.

The police will continue with their approach to “engage, explain, encourage and finally enforce as a last resort”.

READ MORE: How police in Herefordshire will enforce new face covering law


What should you do before and after wearing a face covering?

The public have been advised to wash their hands before putting a covering or mask on or taking it off, and to avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth while wearing one.

What have shopping centre bosses in Hereford said?

Old Market Shopping Centre, home to a number of chain stores in the heart of the city, said: "From Friday, July 24, wearing a face covering is mandatory in enclosed public spaces such as shops, supermarkets and shopping centres, as well as when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops.

"There are some people who are exempt from wearing a face covering, and our team will of course be mindful and respectful of this. 

"It is not compulsory for shop or supermarket staff to wear face coverings, however all retailers are required to ensure that their stores are Covid-19 secure, in line with government guidelines.

"Many of our retailers have installed Perspex screens or provided transparent visors, so you may see store colleagues using these rather than face coverings."

How do you wear a face covering properly?

The UK government has advised that scarves, or homemade cotton coverings, that cover the nose and mouth, and other bought masks that are not the same as those used by the health service are fine to wear.

Surgical masks should be kept for use by health professionals.

Officials have said that people can make a face covering at home, but added it is key to ensure it covers your nose and mouth.

Government guidance states that a cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. This can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.

Before putting it on, you should wash your hands or use hand sanitiser and do the same after removing it.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store any used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.

Do not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose.

Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched and wash the covering regularly. The covering can be washed with other laundry, using your normal detergent.

When wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends.