Do we have to wear face masks after 19th July? UK rules on wearing face coverings - from shops to transport

Boris Johnson has confirmed that lockdown rules will be eased on 19th July - with guidance on face masks set to change

This includes changes to social distancing measures, the wearing of face masks and the limits on social contacts.

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But do we still have to wear face masks in England after 19 July - and what are the rules around the UK?

Boris Johnson has confirmed that lockdown rules will be eased on 19th July - with guidance on face masks set to change (Photo: Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson has confirmed that lockdown rules will be eased on 19th July - with guidance on face masks set to change (Photo: Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Here’s what you need to know.

Do we have to wear face masks after 19 July?

From 19 July, the legal requirement to wear face coverings in enclosed public places will be removed in England.

However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said they were still "expected and recommended" in crowded indoor areas.

Ministers will recommend that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded areas such as on trains, trams and buses - although not in venues such as nightclubs.

The decision comes after a strong backlash against ministers’ plans to no longer legally compel people to wear masks in certain settings.

The Government’s Covid-19 summer response says that “legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings” in England.

However, to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, published guidance “will advise that wearing a face covering will reduce your risk and the risk to others, where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.”

In Scotland, it is currently likely that face coverings will remain part of life - even when social distancing rules come to an end.

Social distancing rules are due to come to an end by 9 August in England, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has indicated that face coverings are likely to be still required on public transport and in shops. A date has not yet been set for when they would be discarded fully.

In Wales, the Welsh government has said face masks will remain mandatory in some public places until Covid-19 is no longer a public health threat.

Masks must still be worn in taxis, on trains and buses, as well as health and social care settings when coronavirus restrictions are eased.

“Active further consideration” is also being given to decide if they should still be required by law in other settings such as shops.

In Northern Ireland, the rules about face coverings are expected to be considered next month.

However, the Stormont Executive has already announced that the legal requirement to wear face coverings in places of worship is also set to be removed on 26 July.