Wearing a Face Covering

July 22, 2020


It is now compulsory in England for anyone aged 11 or over to wear a face covering on public transport, in NHS facilities as a visitor or outpatient, or from 24 July 2020 inside shops, supermarkets and indoor shopping centres . It will also be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to takeaway from cafes and shops.

You can read the Government advice about when to wear a face covering here.

Those with the following circumstances are exempt from wearing a face covering, regardless of the venue:

  • children under the age of 11
  • those with disabilities or the following health conditions:
    • breathing difficulties and other respiratory conditions
    • conditions affecting their dexterity, meaning they are not able to put on a face covering
    • mental health conditions such as anxiety or panic disorders
    • other non-visible disabilities such as autism
    • cognitive impairments, including dementia, who may not understand or remember the need to wear a face covering
    • visual impairments, with a restricted field of vision, particularly if any residual vision is at the lower edge of the normal field of view
    • impairments which would make it difficult to put on or take off a face covering safely, accurately, consistently or without pain

This list of exemptions is not exhaustive and extends to anyone with justifiable reason for not wearing one on the grounds of health or disability.

Wearing a face covering can help stop the spread of coronavirus. You must still keep your distance, and follow good hygiene.

Keeping hands clean and following good respiratory hygiene are crucial in helping to stop coronavirus spreading. This includes:

  • washing hands often with soap and water (or, if this isn’t possible, a hand sanitiser)
  • coughing or sneezing into a tissue (if you don’t have a tissue use your elbow – but not your hands)
  • putting used tissues in the bin quickly
  • not touching your face.

Handwashing is particularly important. The guidance suggests doing it when you get back home after being outside, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and before you eat or handle food. If you’re working, wash your hands when you get to work.

You must self-isolate and get tested if you become ill with coronavirus. Older people and those with dementia are at higher risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus, so should be extra careful to follow guidance on staying safe.

Read the Alzheimer’s Society advice on what you can do to help loved ones with dementia understand the importance of face coverings.

Some people also like to wear a sunflower lanyard, which indicates hidden disabilities including dementia. These are becoming more popular and well-recognised in shops, there is more information about the scheme here: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/blog/hidden-disabilities-dementia-sunflow…

We also wanted to share this helpful infographic from the World Health Organisation about the correct way to wear your face covering .

Visit the World Health Organisation website for more information .