GOV.UK Guidance on face coverings in England

Published: 9th December 2021

The guidance on face coverings in England is changing from 10th December.

The guidance explains:

  • when you should wear a face covering
  • what exemptions exist from having to wear a face covering
  • the rules for face coverings in the workplace (for staff and employers)
  • what face coverings are, and how they can reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • how face coverings should be safely used and stored

This information is based on current scientific evidence and is subject to change. It is important to follow all the other government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19), including how to stay safe and prevent the spread.


In England, face coverings are now required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, including taxis – see the ‘When to wear a face covering’ section below.

Face coverings are not required in hospitality venues where food and drink are consumed (such as pubs, cafés and restaurants), or during exercise (such as gyms), including dancing (such as nightclubs).

Where a premises or part of a premises is being used for an event where the main activities include eating, drinking and dancing, face coverings are not required. Face coverings must be worn in communal areas of the premises not being used for the event, such as in a hotel lobby when an event is taking place in a conference room.

In indoor settings where a face covering is not legally required, you should still continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.

Some people, including children under 11, are exempt from having to wear face coverings in any setting. Furthermore, anyone with a health condition or disability, which means they cannot wear a face covering, has a reasonable excuse for not wearing a face covering.

These changes apply to England only.


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