Wednesday, 29 June 2022 – 22:08
A person wearing a face mask in a shop

Should I wear a face covering in shops?

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Confusion has been spreading over recent days regarding whether or not face coverings should be worn in shops in England.

The wearing of face coverings is mandatory in shops in Scotland, but there are currently no rules requiring them in shops across the UK.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that Britons should be wearing face coverings in shops, claiming they offer a “great deal of value” in controlling the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. The PM added that the government would be looking at the guidance and saying more on the matter in the coming days.

The words on Monday came after Michael Gove said on Sunday that he didn’t think the wearing of face coverings in shops in England would be made compulsory.

The evidence on the effectiveness of face coverings and face masks is somewhat limited. As time has gone on through the pandemic, more governments have encouraged their use or have made them mandatory, though some have warned that hand washing is much more important.

Boris Johnson suggested last week during a session of ‘People’s PMQs’ that face coverings should be used more in enclosed spaces such as in shops, but that their use all of the time outside was unlikely to be advised.

The wearing of face coverings on public transport in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland is already mandatory and today the Welsh Government has announced that they will also make their use mandatory on public transport and in taxis in Wales from 22 July.

The extent to which face coverings are being advised appears to be increasing – whether they will become mandatory in even more settings is though uncertain.


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