Published by Amy Peckham-Driver

Categorised in Good To Know

Many will be aware that the Government further eased restrictions last week by allowing the hospitality sector, as well as various tourist attractions and leisure facilities, to begin opening back up. This included restaurants, pubs, hairdressers, playgrounds, cinemas, theme parks, museums, galleries, libraries, community centres and places of worship. The guidance still states that people must maintain a social distance of 2 metres when visiting these places, or ‘one metre plus’ where that’s not possible.
As the world gradually reopens and settles into its new ‘normal’, we’re inevitably going to see an increase in people getting out and about and gathering in popular locations. In an effort to reduce the risk of transmission as things get busier, the government continues to enforce the social distancing guidelines, as well as good hand hygiene and the use of face coverings.

A face covering is considered ‘a covering of any type which covers your nose and mouth’. It is now required by law to wear a face covering when travelling in England on public transport such as a bus, coach, ferry, tram, train, aircraft or cable car. Failure to do so will result in a £100 fine (reduced to £50 if you pay the fine within 14 days). The government also advise wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces where it’s difficult to adhere to social distancing, such as at stations, in airports, in taxis and in private hire vehicles. It is however worth noting that face coverings aren’t a substitute for social distancing and good hand hygiene and we should remain as diligent as possible in maintaining these practices.

There are a number of people who do not need to wear a face covering. These include:

  • a child under the age of 11
  • passengers in an allocated cabin, berth or other similar accommodation, when they are alone or with members of their household or support bubble
  • passengers who remain in their private vehicle while on board public transport, for example on a car ferry
  • an employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
  • any other person providing services to the transport operator, under arrangements made with the transport operator, who is providing those services
  • a constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty
  • an emergency responder such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty
  • an official, for example a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties

Similarly, you don’t need to wear a face covering if you have a good reason not to. This includes:

  • if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • if you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • if you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
  • if you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering
  • if you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official, for example to check your railcard

If the face covering rules apply to you, remember to wash or sanitise your hands before and after touching your face covering. For longer journeys, take more than one face covering and a plastic bag for any you’ve already used. There are a number of different face coverings available to purchase, or you can make your own by following these steps.

For a more detailed update on the latest Coronavirus information, as well as answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, please visit Suffolk County Council’s COVID-19 information page by clicking here.

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