Face mask statement: What did Matt Hancock say today?

WEARING a face mask in shops and supermarkets will be mandatory in England from July 24, the Government announced.

Today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock released a statement saying anyone failing to comply with that order could face a fine of up to £100.

What did Matt Hancock say in his statement?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that face masks or coverings will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from July 24.

Anyone spotted flouting the new rules could be hit with a £100 fine.

And if people are seen not wearing mask and refuse to comply, shopkeepers have the right to call the police.

Mr Hancock said: "The liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual.

"Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply.

"The police have formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine."

Yet, there are special exemptions to the rule whereby some individuals will not be required to wear a mask.

These are the same as those in place for travelling on public transport where people are able to show a downloadable and printable sign that reads: "I am exempt from wearing a face covering".

What are the exemptions?

Mr Hancock revealed in the House of Commons: "Just as with public transport, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt."

According to the official Government guidance, the following groups are not required to wear a face covering while using public transport or in a shop:

  • A child under the age of 11
  • An employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
  • Any other person providing services to the transport operator, under arrangements made with the transport operator, who is providing those services
  • A constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty
  • An emergency responder such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty
  • An official, for example, a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties
  • If you are allocated a cabin, berth or other similar accommodation, at any time when you are in that accommodation, either alone, or only with members of your own household or a linked household
  • If you are on board public transport but remain in your private vehicle, for example on a car ferry

There are also a series of factors which the Government describes as a “reasonable excuse”, which also means you don’t have to wear a mask:

  • If you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
  • If you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • If you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • If you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
  • If you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering
  • If you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official, for example to check your railcard
  • According to the website Autism Eye, these rules around “reasonable excuses” also cover passengers with autism.

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