Face mask rules for trains, supermarkets, hospitals and GP surgeries from today

From July 19 face masks are not required by law in England, but a number of places including supermarket chains such as Tesco and Aldi, as well as hospitals and train operators, are still insisting on them

Will you continue to wear a face mask after July 19?
Will you continue to wear a face mask after July 19?

Face mask rules differ in England and Wales from Monday, July 19.

As England reaches step 4 of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown, a number of the restrictions that have been in place in England since the pandemic began in March 2020 have now been scrapped.

No more limits on how many people you can meet in the pub, your home or at the park. Social distancing? Gone. Nightclubs can also reopen for the first time in more than 16 months.

However, some places will continue to take precautions, particularly when it comes to wearing face masks.

The Government wants people to exercise their common sense when the law is replaced with voluntary guidance on July 19. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "we expect and recommend" people to continue wearing them in "crowded and enclosed spaces … such as on public transport".

However, in the Welsh Government has said masks will remain compulsory after that date, meaning if you cross the border from one country to another, you will have to follow a different set of rules.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: "We will maintain the requirement to wear face coverings in certain places – on public transport and health and social care settings, and others where necessary – to help keep us all safe."

With train and bus operators, supermarkets, and hospitals and medical practices issuing their guidance - and two different sets of laws in England and Wales - here's a round-up of mask rules and guidance from July 19.

Public transport

Avanti West Coast/West Midlands Railway/London Northwestern Railway: The three train operators have followed the Rail Delivery Group's (RDG) stance of urging people to wear a face covering when services are busy.

An RDG spokesperson said: “Rail companies will ask people to follow the government guidance and, out of respect for others, wear face coverings if an indoor setting is busy. Train travel is low risk, with the majority of carriages well ventilated by air conditioning systems or by doors and windows.

“As restrictions lift, we will continue carrying out extra cleaning and providing better information about how busy services are, so that our passengers can travel with confidence.”

Transport for Wales: The company says if "fully supports" the Welsh Government advice and is reminding passengers that face coverings must be worn on public transport in Wales, unless expect.

Transport for Wales will also ask its passengers to wear coverings on its trains even when part, or all, of their journey is in England.

Transport for Wales passengers are being asked to wear masks throughout their journeys on its trains, even after they leave Wales

Arriva Bus: Arriva will follow the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) guidance, and not force passengers to wear face coverings in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. Tom Bartošák-Harlow, head of external relations at CPT, said: “We now need to see clear guidance for operators and customers but, in the absence of regulations, it is important that we respect everyone’s right to choose whether to wear a face covering.

“The industry is doing everything it can to ensure people can travel with confidence. Operators will continue to deliver enhanced cleaning regimes, ensure buses are well ventilated and provide tools such as apps to allow customers to see how busy their bus is and help plan their journey in advance."

Uber: Drivers and passengers will continue to be required to wear a mask in its vehicles. Ash Kebriti, UK general manager for the firm, said: “There is nothing more important than the safety of our drivers and the riders who use the Uber app.

“As cities continue to open up, we will ensure that face coverings or masks continue to be a mandatory requirement, unless exempt, when travelling with Uber across the UK.”

Supermarkets

All of the major supermarkets are continuing to ask customers to wear face coverings when visiting its stores in England.

You can see the full list of rules in each supermarket here, which are also keeping other Covid-secure measures in place.

GP surgeries

Patients will continue to be asked to wear masks and socially distance when visiting medical practices in Shropshire. All 51 of the county's GP practices - including Telford & Wrekin - have agreed they will still require people to wear face coverings when attending.

Dr Charlotte Hart, GP Partner at Radbrook Green Surgery and Clinical Director of Shrewsbury Primary Care Network, said: "We know it is no longer law but we feel very strongly that we need to continue to protect patients and staff as well.

"Coming into a GP surgery is quite a different environment, we have people who are vulnerable so we are asking patients to continue to wear masks, sanitise, and observe social distancing."

Hospitals

Masks and social distancing rules will also remain in all hospitals, with Public Health England's infection prevention control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance set to stay in place.

As a result, NHS visitor guidance will remain, with patients and visitors expected to continue to socially distance, wear face coverings and other personal protection equipment.

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