Latest face mask rules as pubs, restaurants and bars given go ahead to reopen
Face masks are now compulsory on public transport and in hospitals across England – but new rules will make them more important than ever from next month.
The Government has announced that all pubs, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers and more will reopen on July 4 – while larger groups will also be allowed to gather in public for the first time in months.
In line with these measures, the Prime Minister has set out new safety precautions that Brits will have to take to prevent a second outbreak.
Firstly, a new “one-metre-plus” concept will be phased in from July 4, where the two-metre rule cannot be met.
This means it is now possible to be one metre away from someone outside your household, instead of two metres, as long as there is another mitigating factor in place, such as a screen or face-covering, or hand-washing facilities.
From July 4, pubs and restaurants in England will be allowed to reopen both outdoors and indoors in what the government calls a “Covid-secure way” with more hand-washing, ventilation and table service indoors, rather than customers standing at a shared bar.
People may be asked to share their names upon entry to support the Government’s new Test and Trace programme.
Visitors will not be asked to wear face-coverings – though they could be asked to wear them at the bar.
From next month, households will also be able to meet with one other household at a time in a pub or restaurant, then choose another household on another occasion.
And on public transport, it will be possible to travel one metre apart so long as another mitigating factor is in place, such as face-coverings which are mandatory.
This will help more people get on to trains, buses and trams.
Members of the public have also been warned that a £100 penalty fine will apply for those who fail to stick to face covering guidelines.
Anyone travelling on public transport or entering a hospital must, by law, cover their nose and mouth, and those who break the rules could face an on-the-spot fine.
More than 3,000 extra staff including police officers have been deployed at stations to ensure people comply – they say passengers without a covering will be asked to wear one, or refused entry on board.
Those who repeatedly refuse will be subject to a penalty charge.
The mandatory rules apply to England and require anyone travelling by bus, coach, train, tram, Tube, ferry or plane to cover their face while on board.
They exclude school transport, though Uber and Addison Lee have both made face coverings compulsory for passengers and drivers.
The rules apply only while travelling – not while waiting – but the rail industry has asked people to cover their face as they enter a station.
People with certain health conditions, disabled people and children under the age of 11 are exempt from the rule.
As well as on transport, all hospital visitors and outpatients also have to wear masks.
The rules do not apply in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – but their governments recommend that people cover their faces in places where social distancing is difficult, including on public transport.
The head of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), Manuel Cortes, said: “This must not be seen as a green light among the wider population to use public transport.
“It must remain the case that only the key workers who are keeping us safe during the pandemic continue to use public transport.”