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    When to Consider Wearing a Face Covering or a Face Mask - A Guide for the UK in 2023

    If you would have asked somebody five years ago whether they would be wearing a mask in a few years, they would probably give you a strange look before going about their day. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, mask-wearing has become part of everyday life for a lot of people. When the virus first began to spread across the world, scientists found that one of the best ways to stop the spread was by wearing face masks. But, over two years on from the initial outbreak in the UK, is mask wearing still relevant?

    This article will provide you with all the information you need to know about wearing face coverings in public. We will answer the questions you want the answers to, like whether you still need to wear a face mask, when you can stop wearing a face mask, and whether or not you still need to wear your face mask in different places, such as whilst travelling, or in the hospitality sector.

    Do we still have to wear face masks?

    As of April the 1st 2022, the government withdrew the guidance regarding face masks. There is no legal requirement for people to wear face masks in the United Kingdom, meaning that you cannot be prosecuted for not wearing a mask. However, the government still advises that people wear face masks in crowded and enclosed spaces where you are likely to come into contact with people that you do not usually spend time with. 

    When can you stop wearing face masks?

    As mentioned, you no longer have to wear a mask if you choose not to. Some people however will continue to wear their masks or face coverings in public to protect themselves against potential infection. Because of the nationwide rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, the number of cases and the severity of symptoms have greatly diminished, meaning that it is safe to go outside without a mask. However, if you decide that you still wish to, there are many high-quality face masks available to ensure you are safe.

    Wearing Face Masks When You Travel

    Do you have to wear face masks on trains?

    When you are travelling on a train, you may think that you still need to wear a face mask. Again, the recommendation by the government is to continue wearing a face mask in crowded spaces, which could be relevant on trains, especially when they are busy. However, you are no longer required to wear a face mask on a train, and there will be no rules enforced regarding this.

    Do you have to wear face masks on buses?

    The exact same can be said when you travel on a bus. The rules and law cover all public transport, including trains and buses. You have no obligation to wear a face mask when riding on the bus, and you will not be made to wear one. It is purely someone's choice about whether or not they choose to wear one. 

    Do you have to wear face masks on planes or at airports?

    When you are travelling abroad, it can be confusing about what you need to do in regards to wearing a mask or not. As people will be travelling to anywhere around the world, knowing the specific guidelines can be tricky. The simple answer is that it depends on who you are flying with, and where you are flying to. The best way to find out whether or not you need to wear a mask is by simply asking the company that you book your holiday with. For example, people flying to or from Germany or Italy may be required to wear an FFP2 mask. There are many different kinds of mask types, this is just the one that is preferred. Other countries that enforce some form of mask restrictions include Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Morocco, North Macedonia, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Tunisia.

    Wearing Face Masks In Hospitality Settings

    Do you have to wear face masks in cinemas?

    No, you no longer need to wear a face mask in the cinema. Previously, you would be required to, but this is no longer the case.

    Do you have to wear face masks in theatres?

    Theatres are also no longer enforcing face mask rules, and you do not need to wear one if you do not want to, much in the same as the cinema.

    Do you have to wear face masks in restaurants?

    This is also the case for restaurants, you are no longer required to wear a face mask in a restaurant whether you are sitting at your table or not. Previously, you would have to put a mask on whenever you left your table.

    Do you have to wear face masks at the hairdressers/barbers?

    One of the industries people missed the most during the coronavirus pandemic were barbers and hairdressers. When they first reopened, many were asking for patrons to wear face masks. As the restrictions have eased, so have these requests, and you are no longer required to wear your mask to the hairdressers or barbers.

    Do you have to wear face masks in shops?

    When you go into a shop, you no longer have to queue outside, and you no longer need to wear a mask in the shop. 

    Do patients have to wear face masks in hospital?

    When you have to go to the hospital, you will notice that all of the staff, clinical or non-clinical, will be required to wear a face mask. Patients, however, are not required to wear face masks unless their doctor believes it will be beneficial or necessary. 


    What are the latest rules for face coverings and masks? - BBC News

    NHS Patients, staff and visitors must continue to wear face coverings in healthcare settings

    Face Masks - COVID-19 Staff Information - Oxford University Hospitals

    Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions and what makes a good one

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