Everything you need to know about wearing a mask

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5 August 2020

A guide to the mandatory use of face coverings across the UK

We know that the constant updates on the use of masks can be confusing so we’ve put together a table showing some of the main places you have to wear a face covering in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

It is mandatory to wear a facemask in these locations in the following countries:

For a comprehensive list of where mandatory use of face coverings has been implemented, visit the English, Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh Government websites.


It’s important to remember that not everyone who is not wearing a facemask is breaking the rules. Some people are exempt from wearing face coverings for a number of different reasons. These include:

  • Children under 11 years old in England and Wales, under 5 years old in Scotland and under 13 years in Northern Ireland.
  • People who are unable to put on a mask because of a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability.
  • Those who are travelling with or helping someone who is reliant on lip reading to communicate.
  • When someone has a necessary need to eat, drink or take medication.

The English Government has some useful information about using exemption cards to indicate that you don’t have to wear a mask.

People who aren’t able to wear a mask can adopt the distance aware symbol to indicate that they would like others to keep their distance.

For more information about what the distance aware symbol is and how it can be used visit this page on our hub.