Coronavirus update: new face mask requirements

The UK Government is adapting the national strategy to help manage the spread of coronavirus as the pandemic continues. As we gradually come out of lockdown, new rules will be introduced to help minimise the risk of a second outbreak whilst allowing people more freedom. From 15th June, new rules are coming into place concerning the use of face masks and here we look at some of the details of the Prime Minister’s briefing so you’re ready for the changes.

What are the new rules for wearing face masks?

From Monday 15th June, it will be mandatory for everybody travelling on public transport (including by bus, coach, train, Tube, ferry, tram, or plane) to wear face masks. In line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation, this change is being put in place for those times when socially distancing is more difficult. Some people, such as children under the age of 11, disabled people, and people with certain health conditions, will be exempt from the rule; and it does not apply to school transport, or taxis, although some firms may insist on face coverings. It’s best to check before you travel.

You can read more about this here

What’s the science behind this decision?

The decision regarding facemasks was taken by the Government after consultation with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). Their findings are based on up-to-date external scientific evidence

The scientific rationale for wearing a face mask is that they help reduce the potential for transmission of droplets from the mouth and nose that could contain the virus. 

What if I don’t have a face mask?

If you’re not wearing the proper protection, the public transport provider will not let you travel. This means that if you’re trying to catch the bus without a face mask, you’ll be turned away, or you could be fined £100.

Where can I get hold of a face mask?

A large number of face masks will be made available for free at railway stations. You can also buy or make a face mask. (our sister company) stocks a range of coronavirus essentials including face masks. The Government has also released a guide to making your own face mask.

How do I wear a face mask?

The correct use of a face mask can make all the difference for its effectiveness. The World Health Organization recommends:

  • Before putting on a mask, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with the mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not reuse single-use masks.
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard single use masks immediately in a closed bin; clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

For more information

For the latest updates and government advice on the coronavirus click here or visit our coronavirus information hub here.

Phil Day By Phil Day Superintendent Pharmacist Published 15/06/2020