Coronavirus (COVID-19) face coverings

On the 24 July 2020, the law in England changed regarding the use of face coverings.

In this section

How should a face covering be worn?

  • a cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably - it can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head
  • wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store 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
  • you should wash a face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent
  • when wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends

When should a face covering be worn?

A face covering must be worn in the following indoor settings (a list of examples for each is included in the brackets):

  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
  • taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs)
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets
  • auction houses
  • premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink (see exemptions)
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
  • estate and lettings agents
  • theatres
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • places of worship
  • funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • exhibition halls and conference centres
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • storage and distribution facilities

People are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

You should also wear a face covering in indoor places not listed here where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Face coverings are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They are also advised to be worn in care homes.

Website: Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Face coverings in schools

Face coverings for year 7 and above

The DfE has published its guidance for education and childcare settings on the new national restrictions that came into force on the 5 November. This guidance includes that during the national restrictions, face coverings should be worn by students (year 7 and above) and staff in secondary schools and further education colleges in communal spaces, outside of classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained. 

Website: Face coverings in education from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Face coverings on home to School transport

In light of the continued and rising increase in community transmission and COVID-19 infection rates, Worcestershire County Council with advice from Public Health have decided to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory on Home to School Transport from Tuesday 6 October 2020. To find out more please visit Worcestershire County Council’s School travel pages Worcestershire County Council school and college travel.

Website: School and college travel

Face coverings on school run

Parents and carers are being advised to wear face coverings when dropping off and collecting children from school. The new advice from Public Health follows recommends that face coverings should be worn where it is physically difficult for parents to follow 2 metre social distancing rules. This extra measure is being introduced to keep the whole school community safe, especially those who are most vulnerable.To find out more please read our media statement on face coverings outside schools

Further guidance from Worcestershire Public Health

Our Director of Public Health Kathryn Cobain, visited the market town of Evesham to find out how people are getting on with their face covering and to answer their questions.

To help us wear and wash our face coverings properly, Public Health Consultant Rachael Leslie has made this video.