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Mask wearing in England is now compulsory in some settings

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The government has published a list of settings that the new rules apply to

They include shops and supermarkets, shopping centres, post offices, banks, pharmacies, and public transport. It also includes takeaways that don’t have space for people to eat or drink on premises. And it includes in cars or small vans during a professionally delivered driving lesson or driving test. 

Why do we have to use face coverings again? 

When someone with COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles into the air that may contain coronavirus, and these particles can be breathed in by other people. 

By covering your nose and mouth with a face covering, you will reduce the spread of droplets by limiting the amount released when you talk and breathe. It helps to protect others. 

Evidence suggests that transmission mainly happens indoors where people are close together

Face coverings can also help reduce virus spread from contagious people with no symptoms. 

If you are not able to wear a face covering 

Some people will be exempt from wearing face coverings, due to their health or circumstance, and some will carry an exemption card by choice. 

The government does not provide physical exemption cards or badges, but you can download one from their website to save to your mobile phone or print off.

What about schools?

The Department for Education (DfE) has updated their guidance for schools and childcare settings to reflect new measures announced by the Prime Minister in response to the Omicron COVID-19 variant. 

The new measures will be introduced as a precaution to slow down the spread of the new Omicron variant while the government gathers more information. The measures include:

  • Face coverings should be worn in communal areas in all settings by staff, visitors and students in year seven and above, unless they are exempt.
  • Pupils in year seven or above should continue to wear face coverings on public and dedicated school transport, unless they are exempt.
  • All educational and childcare settings should continue to encourage staff and students to test twice weekly using lateral flow device (LFD) tests.