It is mandatory for most people (unless they have a genuine reason not to, see the Exemption section further down this page) to wear a face covering in all indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult and where we come into contact with people we do not normally meet.
- Public Transport and transport hubs such as bus and train stations and airports
- Premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink
- Enclosed public spaces including supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, banks and post offices.
- When buying takeaway food and drink (including sandwich shops), although they can be removed in a seating area
- Travelling in taxis
- funeral directors
- premises providing professional, legal or financial services
- bingo halls
- concert halls
- museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites.
- nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers - other than where necessary to remove for treatments
- massage parlours
- public areas in hotels and hostels
- place of worship
- libraries and public reading rooms
- community centres
- social clubs
- tattoo and piercing parlours
- indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities e.g. laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites etc)
- storage and distribution facilities
- veterinary services.
- auction houses
Face coverings should also be worn in indoor places not listed above where possible, especially if it is a place where you may come in to contact with people you do not usually meet. You can find more information about when to wear a face covering by visiting the Government's face covering's page.
A face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy or make reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.
Please have a look at the face coverings page on the Government website to find out more about the rules and what may happen if you don't wear one. You can also visit the Government website to find out how to make your own face covering.
You will be exempt from having to wear a face covering/mask if you:
- are a child aged 11 or under.
- have a disability.
- have a learning disability or Autism.
- would experience severe distress putting on, wearing or removing a face covering/ mask.
- have any communication needs that require you to lip read.
- have a health problem or condition that could be affected by wearing a face covering for example, problems with your breathing.
If you are unsure about whether or not you are exempt you can check the full list of exemptions on gov.uk.
Guidance is clear that children under the age of three years should not wear face coverings or masks
If you have a medical condition that means you are unable to wear a face covering, you do not need a letter from your healthcare professional to prove this. In this situation you will still be able to enter shops and use public transport and you will not be fined for not wearing one. You can, however, choose to carry a card that explains why you are not wearing a face cover to show to people.
Downloadable exemption cards
Please select one of the following images to view and save a larger version of the card that is relevent to you. These cards were created by our provider Navigo. You can also download and print a page (PDF) that features all of the cards and cut out the one that suits your needs.
Helpful resources for wearing and encouraging the use of face coverings
Where possible, it's important to try and encourage children and young people to wear face coverings. This article has some good advice here about how to support young people in using/tolerating masks or face coverings.
Although the following link is to an article that is specifically about those who have autism, many of the tips could be used with most young people who are showing reluctance. Please visit www.autismnj.org/article/helping-individuals-with-autism-wear-face-masks/ (external link) to find out more.