Coronavirus: What shops do I have to wear a face covering in? Rules changing in England tomorrow | UK News

Face coverings will be compulsory in shops in England from Friday to stop the spread of coronavirus.

But they are still not mandatory in cafes, pubs and restaurants, which has led to confusion over where the new rule applies in relation to buying food.

Does a takeaway, for example, count as a shop or a restaurant? And what about fast food outlets that offer both dine-in and takeaway service?

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People who flout the law face a £100 fine

The government has been accused of sending mixed messages with conflicting advice and examples from ministers – for example Michael Gove deciding not to wear a mask in Pret but the chancellor doing so.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said on Thursday there had been “some confusion” and “greater clarity” is needed.

But he added: “I think it’s very important as leader of the opposition that I say clearly we must follow the government’s advice.

“It’s very important that where the advice is to wear the mask we should all do it.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove arrives at number 10 on August 06, 2019 in London, England. Today Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is meeting his Estonian counterpart Jüri Ratas for a bilateral meeting.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
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Michael Gove did not wear a mask when buying food from Pret

Speaking on Sky News’ Kay [email protected] show, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis confirmed masks must be worn when visiting sandwich shops if taking away.

“If you are going into Pret a Manger, and you are eating in Pret a Manger, which in some of their stores you can, then obviously you wouldn’t be wearing a face mask because you’re eating.

“But it’s clear, good common sense that if you are going in to buy a takeaway and you’re leaving again, you’re treating it like a shop and you should be wearing a face mask”, he said.



Brandon Lewis



Cabinet minister tells people to use ‘good common sense’

The clarification means that takeaways and coffee shops with indoor seating will be classed as shops, not restaurants.

Therefore, masks will be mandatory within them from tomorrow.

Buying food from a counter and then sitting down to eat inside will be banned, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The newspaper also reports that premises with table service will be exempt from the new rules but customers who dine-in must sit down straight away.

It means that in some food outlets, there will be differing rules depending on your reason for visiting.

Shoppers wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), of a face mask or covering as a precautionary measure against spreading COVID-19,, walk past a banner advising customers to maintain the British government's current social distancing guidelines and stay two metres (2M) apart, inside an Asda supermarket store in Walthamstow, east London on June 22, 2020. - Britain's current social distancing guidelines set the distance between each person at two metres to avoid the risk of contamination to coronavirus. There is pressure on the government to reduce this distance in order to give a boost to bars, restaurants and hotels, which are scheduled to reopen next month. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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Children under 11 and those with disabilities are exempt from the new law

In McDonald’s, for example, anyone who sits down to eat will not have to wear a mask. But anyone who orders takeaway from the counter will.

Those who fail to wear a mask could be fined up to £100 – brought down to £50 if paid within fortnight.

Children under 11 and those with disabilities are exempt.

But it remains unclear how strictly the new law will be enforced.

Stop and search met police
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Police in some areas will not enforce the rule unless shoppers are violent

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has already said they will not challenge customers who enter their stores without a mask.

Head of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick has said officers should only be called for someone failing to wear a face covering as “a last resort”.

And police and crime commissioners for Thames Valley, Devon and Cornwall have said their officers will not attend incidents where shoppers refuse to wear masks, unless they turn violent.

Wearing face coverings in shops is already mandatory in Scotland.

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