When should you wear a face mask in public in the UK?

14 May 2020, 15:04

The latest government advice on when and how you should wear a face coverings in public in the UK.

The UK government recently updated their advice on face masks, recommending that people wear some sort of covering in certain circumstances while out in public.

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The general public have been told to wear a face covering, which could be as simple as a homemade cloth covering, when "in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible".

The public have been told to wear face masks where social distancing is not possible
The public have been told to wear face masks where social distancing is not possible. Picture: PA

In a government document released earlier this week, the advice states: "If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

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"A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers; these supplies should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.

Face masks should ideally be worn on public transport
Face masks should ideally be worn on public transport. Picture: PA

"Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of two or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly, for example primary school age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions. It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off."

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has also reminded people that face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing.

When should you wear face masks in the UK?

Appearing on This Morning on Tuesday 14 May, Health Secretary Matt Hancock clarified when the public should wear face coverings.

Speaking to hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, he said you should wear them: "If you are in a confined space for a reasonable period of time - but not with people who you’re there with for a long time like with a school or with an office."

Matt Hancock spoke out on face mask advice on This Morning
Matt Hancock spoke out on face mask advice on This Morning. Picture: ITV

He added: "If it’s a period of 20 minutes when you’re on public transport, then there is some evidence that a face covering doesn't particularly help you, but it helps stops you from spreading it.

"Thats what the science now says. As people are going back to work, that’s why we’ve brought that in."


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