Five 'reasonable excuses' that police will accept if you're not wearing a face covering

15 July 2020, 12:00 | Updated: 15 July 2020, 12:10

Some people are exempt from wearing face masks on public transport (stock image)
Some people are exempt from wearing face masks on public transport (stock image). Picture: Getty/PA

Face coverings will be mandatory in shops in England from 24 July, with flouters facing a £100 fine.

The government announced this week that face coverings will soon be mandatory in shops in England.

From July 24, anyone who doesn't wear a covering on their face may face a fine of up to £100 - or £50 if paid within 14 days.

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The law will be enforced by the police, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock announcing that shop owners will have the power to report those refusing to comply.

Face coverings will soon be mandatory in English shops
Face coverings will soon be mandatory in English shops. Picture: PA

Details of the rules for face masks in shops haven't been released, but the government did previously reveal a list of reasonable excuses for not wearing them on public transport.

Face coverings were made mandatory on buses, trams, taxis and trains in England on June 15, with the public facing fines for choosing not to wear one.

However, there are five 'reasonable excuses' that people may give to the police for not wearing them on public transport, according to official government guidance, reported by the Daily Star.

It is not known whether these same rules will apply to shops.

Find out more about face coverings becoming mandatory in shops on the website.

The "reasonable excuses" include

1. People with physical and mental illness or impairments – if putting on and wearing a face mask could cause distress

2. People with breathing difficulties.

3. Anyone with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.

4. Anyone who needs to eat, drink, or take medication can remove the face covering

5. Any person who has been asked to remove their face covering by a police officer or official

Face coverings are mandatory on public transport in England (stock image)
Face coverings were made mandatory for public transport on England on June 15 (stock image). Picture: Getty

Speaking on Lorraine today (15 July), Matt Hancock said of face masks: "The implementation is to give businesses ten days to get things organised but the advice from now, and has been for some time, that we recommend wearing a mask in shops and we are going to make it mandatory from the 24th July onwards. I think that gives people the clarity they have been seeking."

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Matt Hancock says no current plans for mandatory face masks in offices and schools

When questioned about whether it would be 'unworkable' for shop owners to call the police, he said: "Oh no, it’s very much workable. The main reason is that the vast majority of people obey the law and we’ve seen that throughout the lockdown. At the peak of this, we saw that we had mandatory rules in place - compared to other countries we have issued hardly any fines because we didn’t need to. People followed the law, it’s good."


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