Posted: Sun 13th Sep 2020

Face coverings mandatory in Wales’ shops from Monday – who is exempt?

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Sep 13th, 2020


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Face coverings will become mandatory in shops and other indoor public places across Wales from Monday as rules are tightened to stem a rise in coronavirus cases.

First minister Mark Drakeford said the new measures announced on Friday “are to prevent a new coronavirus crisis in Wales, not respond to one.”

In South Wales, a local lockdown is in place in Caerphilly due to a rapid rise in the number of positive coronavirus cases.

Enhanced public health action is also being taken in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil following a rise in cases there and 20 new cases were reported in Newport on Saturday.

New coronavirus cases remain relatively low in North Wales, in Flintshire 19 new cases have been reported in the past seven days.

The Welsh Government said the “rising incidence rate of cases in Wales now means we are making it a legal requirement to wear face coverings in shops and other indoor public places.”

Face coverings will be required in all indoor public places, for both customers and staff working in those indoor public areas.

This includes a very wide range of locations, such as shops and shopping centres, places of worship, hairdressers and salons, cinemas and museums, gyms and leisure centres, and anywhere that is open to members of the public.

It would also include any public areas within buildings that are otherwise closed to the public – for example a reception area of an office building.

The only indoor public areas where face coverings will not be required are where you are inside a place to eat or drink, for example, cafés, restaurants and pubs.

But where food and drink is only being served for consumption in part of the premises – for example, a café which also offers take away services – you will need to wear a face covering in the parts of the premises where people are not eating or drinking.

The requirement will apply to everyone aged 11 and over – including customers and staff.

The Welsh Government said it “hopes people will understand the reasons for wearing face coverings” managers of premises will be required to provide information about the legal requirement to those intending to enter.

Notices advising customers of their legal obligation to wear face coverings should be displayed in a prominent place (in both English and Welsh) whenever feasible.

Those not wearing a covering will be “given an opportunity to wear a face covering or explain why they have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering.

“If they are not complying with the law customers may be asked to leave the premises.” The Welsh Government has stated.

Police or environmental health officers have the powers to issue a fixed penalty for breaches of the new rule.

A first offence is punishable by a penalty of £60 (which doubles for each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £1,920).

Repeat offenders could also be prosecuted in court where there is no limit to the fine that may be issued.

However, you may have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if (for example):

  • you are not able to put on or to wear a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, or because of a disability or impairment;
  • you are accompanying somebody who relies on lip reading where they need to communicate; or
  • you are escaping from a threat or danger and don’t have a face covering.

The Welsh Government said “from experience in other countries where face coverings have been required, we know survivors of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence sometimes find that wearing a mask triggers flashbacks to traumatic experiences.

If that applies to you then this would also be a good reason not to wear a face covering.”

For those who are exempt from wearing a face-covering the Welsh Government advises people to carry information such as a prescription or evidence such as a hospital appointment letter relating to a medical condition as proof.

“A number of organisations such as transport operators have created cards that can be downloaded from their websites and printed.”

For those who aren’t exempt, they will have to keep my face covering on in those indoor spaces at all times “but you may have a reasonable excuse” to remove a face covering temporarily if:

  • you need to take medicines;
  • you need to eat or drink; or
  • you need to remove a face covering to avoid harm or injury, either to yourself or others – for example to get somebody’s attention about a danger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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