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Face coverings rule extended to cinemas and museums from today

Face masks now mandatory in cinemas, museums and places of worship
Face masks are now mandatory in cinemas, museums and places of worship (Pictures: EPA/PA/Reuters)

New rules on face coverings have come into force across England and Scotland following a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

Anyone visiting a museum, gallery, cinema or place of worship from today will be required to cover their nose and mouth. 

The number of public places where a mask is mandatory has been extended due to fears about a potential second wave of coronavirus cases hitting the UK.

Toby Bradon, general manager for Vue cinemas in the UK, Ireland and Denmark, told the BBC that he expects customers to follow the rules because coverings have become the ‘the new normal.’

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He said: ‘Face coverings are becoming more ubiquitous, people wear them on public transport, in other leisure environments.

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‘We recognise that some people will be exempt so it is appropriate that we encourage people to wear them but we won’t be policing it.’

epa08564312 A gallery worker wearing a face mask poses by a sculpture during a media preview of the re-opening of the Tate Britain gallery in London, Britain, 24 July 2020. Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives will be open to visitors from 27 July 2020 with social distancing measures in place due to the ongoing pandemic of the COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. EPA/NEIL HALL
A gallery worker wearing a face mask at the Tate Britain gallery in London (Picture: EPA)
A cinema worker in Coventry (Picture: Reuters)
A churchgoer puts on a face mask as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and sits observing social distancing measures inside the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mayfair, central London, as places of worship in England reopen for services from 4 July, for the first time since lockdown began. Picture date: Sunday July 5, 2020.
A churchgoer puts on a face mask inside the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mayfair, central London (Picture: EMPICS Entertainment)

People have been required to wear a face covering on public transport for nearly two months and in shops for the last two weeks.

Boris Johnson announced the extension of the rules at the same press conference where he cancelled the planned easing of the lockdown last week.

He said: ‘We will also extend the requirement to wear a face-covering to other indoor settings where you are likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet, such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship.  

‘We now recommend face coverings are worn in these settings, and this will become enforceable in law from August 8.’

The full list of places you’ll be required to wear a face covering from today

  • funeral directors
  • premises providing professional, legal or financial services
  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • bingo halls
  • concert halls
  • museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites
  • nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers – other than where necessary to remove for treatments
  • massage centres
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • places of worship
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • community centres
  • social clubs
  • tattoo and piercing parlours
  • indoor entertainment venues – like amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities including laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms and heritage sites
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • veterinary services
  • auction houses

Some are exempt from the new rules because of health conditions. Anyone found not wearing a face covering without a legitimate reason could be fined £100. 

But police have said they will struggle to enforce the new laws and many shops and transport operators are telling staff not to challenge customers

The World Health Organisation says face coverings can be effective in stopping the spread of coronavirus when used in public settings where social distancing isn’t possible.

Who is exempt from wearing a face mask?

You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • to eat or drink if reasonably necessary
  • in order to take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

In England restaurants, pubs and gyms are still exempt from the rules. There have been calls to extend the use of face coverings to other settings, including beaches which will be crowded again today as temperatures hit the mid 30s. 

Other parts of Europe have made masks compulsory outdoors. In Spain, nearly all regions have made them mandatory in all public spaces including beaches. In France, many towns and cities including Toulouse, Nice and Lille have made them compulsory in busy outdoors areas.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced the new face mask rules, along with other measures, yesterday, explaining that the ‘risks are heightened’ as the country eases lockdown restrictions.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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