Who is exempt from wearing a face mask?
According to the official Government guidance, the below groups are not required to wear a mask:
- A child under the age of 11
- An employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
- A constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty
- An emergency response member of staff, such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty
- An official such as a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties
- If you are on board public transport but remain in your own vehicle, such as a car ferry
Other legitimate exemptions listed include those with a disability or a physical or mental illness, and anyone travelling with a deaf person who relies on lip reading to communicate.
Wearers are also permitted to remove them if it is necessary to avoid harm or injury, as well as to eat or drink if required, to take medication, or if a police officer or other official requests you to do so.
Customers in shops will also be allowed to remove them if they are required to present identification for purchasing alcohol and other age-restricted products.
Are there any exceptions to the rule?
Yes there are some exceptions, which the government have outlined as 'reasonable' reasons for not wearing a mask. These include if you're travelling with someone who requires lip reading, if you suffer from severe distress when you put it on, suffer from a disability where you're unable to put it on, or you need to eat, drink or take medication.
Those who suffer from autism also don't have to wear a mask, with the same applying to those who have an impairment which could be affected by putting on a covering.
Are masks required on trains and buses?
The current guidance has required masks to be worn on public transport in England since June 15. Travel operators can refuse to let passengers on board if they are not covering their face - and those who refuse to follow the new protocol could face a fine. Exceptions apply for very young children, disabled people, and those who have breathing difficulties.
Uber has had restrictions in place since June 15, with both drivers and passengers required to wear a mask whilst in the vehicle.
A paper published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change on June 12 said that transparent face shields of the sort used by hospital doctors and nurses should be used by transport workers, teachers and retail workers.
It advises that visors, like face masks, be used by the public to mitigate the risk of infection where social distancing is not possible.
On June 5, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, announced that hospital visitors and outpatients would need to wear face coverings and all hospital staff would be required to wear surgical masks in England from June 15.
He told the daily Downing Street press conference: "This will cover all staff working in hospital, it will apply at all times - not just when they are doing life-saving work on the front line - and it will apply in all areas, except those areas designated as Covid-secure workplaces."
The guidance states that your General Practitioner should not issue patients with exemption letters.
You can download exemption cards from the internet for specific conditions such as Autism, Learning disabilities and Parent and child cards.