Currently, the public are advised to wear coverings in enclosed public spaces, where they may encounter people they would not usually meet, plus face coverings have been compulsory on public transport in England since 15 June.
Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt (How to let people know you are exempt)
The new mandatory rule for face coverings in shops is not expected to apply to retail staff.
Face Coverings have become a way of life for a lot of people, with more than half of adults surveyed by the Office for National Statistics in the first week of July saying they used a covering while outside their home.
Meanwhile, a report requested by the government’s chief scientific adviser suggests the UK could see around 120,000 new coronavirus deaths in hospitals during a “reasonable” worst-case scenario this winter.
A Government spokesman has said:
“The delay between the announcement and the rule coming into force on 24 July gives people time to prepare” but people will start wearing coverings from today
People are intelligent and responsible enough to wear face coverings and the mandatory rule sends “a much stronger signal that people will follow in greater numbers” Wearing face coverings in shops is an “appropriate mitigation” against the “overall risk” of the coronavirus but the rule would not work in pubs, cafes or restaurants. With all of our laws there is an element of policing by consent and so we need the public to play their part and abide by the restrictions.”
The latest rules for shops will be enforced by the police, with anyone disregarding them at risk of a fine of up to £100. This will be reduced to £50 if people pay within 14 days. While shop workers will be encouraged to prompt customers to comply, they will not be expected to enforce the rules, allaying unions’ concerns about their involvement.