Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): face coverings and masks

Published: 30 Oct 2020
Last updated: 18 Oct 2021 - see all updates

Rules and guidance on wearing face coverings and masks, including exemptions.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): face coverings and masks
Where you must wear a face covering

Where you must wear a face covering or mask

By law, everyone aged 12 and over must wear a face covering, unless exempt, in most indoor public spaces, including:

  • shops
  • public transport services and premises, including bus stops - this includes when sitting down in a hospitality area on a ferry or train (unless eating or drinking)
  • taxis and hire vehicles
  • bars, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs and takeaways
  • hair salons, beauty and nail parlours, tattoo studios and any other indoor close contact service setting
  • churches and other places of worship
  • crematoriums and funeral parlours
  • gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools and indoor fitness studios
  • community centres
  • conference or exhibition centres
  • banks, building societies, registration offices and credit unions
  • hotels
  • during a driving lesson or test (unless everyone in the vehicle is part of the same household)
  • libraries, museums and galleries
  • indoor entertainment venues, such as cinemas, bingo halls, comedy clubs, theatres, concert halls, sport stadia
  • indoor leisure facilities, such as casinos, amusement arcades, soft play centres, indoor funfairs, among others
  • indoor places where clubs and societies meet
  • any indoor, or part of an indoor, public space used for weddings or civil partnership registration and as a polling station or counting votes
  • storage and distribution facilities, including collection and drop-off points
  • in communal areas and canteens in workplaces (apart from early learning and school settings), this includes tradespeople working in homes, colleges and universities, health care settings, such as dentists, hospitals, and care homes, and any other indoor setting where work is carried out

Check the face covering regulations on the legislation.gov.uk website for more details.

Other places and situations when you are advised to wear a face covering

Although it’s not the law, you are also advised to wear a face covering:

  • in outdoor crowded places, such as school and nursery gates and entrances
  • if you are sharing a car with people who are not in your household
  • when interacting with someone making a delivery to your home

First published: 30 Oct 2020 Last updated: 18 Oct 2021 -