24/07/2020 - Permalink

Face coverings in shops now mandatory

Related topics: Community / Coronavirus / Health

The Government has announced that face coverings are to become mandatory in supermarkets, shops, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies and post offices, joining public transport where people have had to wear a face covering since June.

A ‘face covering’ is just something which safely covers the nose and mouth. There are lots of different options and, where possible, people are encouraged to use a reusable face covering rather than a disposable one, or people can make their own.

The face covering should feel comfortable and fit securely against the side of your face and be secured to the head with ties or ear loops. You should also avoid touching the face covering while you are wearing it.

An image of a lady wearing a face covering in a shop.

Individuals should make sure they wash their hands thoroughly before putting a face covering on, and both before and after taking it off. Single-use masks should be disposed of with your non-recyclable waste and reusable masks should be washed in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change said:

“This will be a big adjustment for some, but we are encouraging people to get on board now.

“Face coverings are designed to keep other people safe against the spread of infection and I would urge residents to play their part when they are out shopping.

“We strongly urge you NOT to purchase surgical masks. These are prioritised for healthcare workers working in more high-risk environments.

“While face coverings play an important role in protecting others, it is not designed to replace the other measures designed to stop the spread of the virus. That is why it is important to still follow the latest social distancing guidelines and practice good hand hygiene at all times.”


There are a number of exemptions for the mandatory wearing of face coverings in shops and supermarkets:

  • Young children under the age of 11
  • Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • If you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
  • To avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • To eat or drink, but only if you need to
  • To take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:

  • If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification
  • If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication

For further advice on face coverings, please visit the Government website.