New rules on wearing face coverings in public introduced

New rules on wearing face coverings in public introduced

From Monday 15 June, new rules on wearing face coverings in public will come into force in England, to help protect people from catching the coronavirus, COVID-19. 

In line with the new government rules, people will have to wear a face covering when they are using any form of public transport, or when they are going to hospital for an appointment or to visit somebody. 

The government has also recommended that face coverings should be worn in enclosed spaces, such as shops, where it isn’t possible to maintain a 2 metre distance between people.  

Jim McManus, Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council said:

“Face coverings do not protect you from catching coronavirus from others.  However, if you have COVID-19 and don’t realise because you don’t have any symptoms, wearing something that covers your nose and mouth should help to reduce the risk of you passing the virus to others.  If you know, or suspect that you have COVID-19, it’s important that you arrange to get tested, stay at home and self-isolate, in line with government guidance.   

“Buses and trains, hospitals and busy, enclosed spaces are all places which scientists have identified as being the sort of environment where COVID-19 can spread more easily. Help to protect your community and NHS services by following the new rules and advice.  Be prepared by having your own face covering with you and using it carefully if you are going use or visit any of these settings.

“It’s really important we all remember that face coverings are not an alternative to social distancing, good hand washing and good hygiene, as these are the most important and effective measures that we can all adopt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.” 

If you have symptoms of Covid, you (and all members of your household whether they have symptoms or not) must self-isolate promptly. Follow the stay at home guidance, and get tested as soon as possible if you are eligible, either by using this website -  https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test  or by calling 119 if you don’t have access to the internet.

To help people to interpret the government’s advice and choose the right face covering for their circumstances, the Public Health team from Hertfordshire County Council has developed guidance for employers and the public.  This is available here

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1.    What is a face covering?
A face covering is made of cloth or other textiles and covers the nose and mouth.  You should be able to breathe comfortably through a face covering.  You can use a simple scarf or bandana that ties behind your head or make your own ‘no-sew’ face coverings using the advice available online at the gov.uk website. Simply search for ‘face covering’. Face coverings are also available to buy online.  

A face covering is not the same as a face mask used within a health and care setting.  It is important that face masks are only used by health and care professionals, to ensure that the supply of these masks for key workers who are at particular risk is not reduced.  

2.    Using a face covering safely
The safe use of face coverings is crucial.  Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, taking it off, washing it and storing it.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.  Clean any surfaces your face covering has come into contact with. You should wash your face covering after each use in your usual laundry, using your normal detergent.  

3.    Who should not wear a face covering?
The government has advised that face coverings are not recommended for those who may find them difficult to wear, such as children under three, primary aged children who cannot use them without assistance, or those who may have problems breathing while wearing a face covering.  

Frequently asked Questions about face coverings can be viewed here.

4.    What is the Hertfordshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF)
The LRF is a multi-agency partnership, made up of representatives from local public services, including the emergency services, local authorities, the NHS, the Environment Agency and the Highways Agency as well as other partners in the military and voluntary sector who provide a valuable contribution to LRF work in emergency preparedness.  Through the LRF, we plan and prepare together to deal with localised incidents and national emergencies. We identify potential risks and produce emergency plans to either prevent or mitigate the impact of any incident on their local communities.

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