Face coverings compulsory in shops + latest numbers

As of today, face coverings are now mandatory in shops and supermarkets and in enclosed public spaces such as shopping centres, transport hubs and banks. A covering is also now required when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops, though eat-in restaurants and pubs, hairdressers and salons, health clubs, cinemas, concert halls and theatres will be exempt.

Transport and hub operators are expected to remind passengers of the new law and if necessary ask people to leave a transport hub if they are not wearing a face covering. The Police, British Transport Police and TfL will have the power to enforce £100 penalties, or remove people from services. 

Children under the age of 11 are also exempt, as are people with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.

Considerations for businesses

Businesses have been asked to take "reasonable steps" to encourage customers to follow the new law, using signs and providing other information in store.

Whilst the new rules do not make it compulsory for staff to wear face coverings, businesses are encouraged to consider their use "where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place". Employees in different businesses have their own guidelines, ranging from face coverings where appropriate to perspex screens.

Employers are required to review risk assessments to ensure they remain suitable and sufficient. Specifically, where COVID-19 is a risk in the workplace, it must form part of the risk assessment. The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance to help businesses conduct risk assessments: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm. Employers should share their risk assessment with workers and are advised to consider publishing it on their website.

Further regulations will come into force on Saturday 25th July, to open more businesses and venues, including swimming pools, water parks, indoor fitness and dance studios, gyms and sport courts.

Face coverings are not the same as face masks. The public has been asked not to use medical grade PPE masks to ensure these remain available for frontline staff.


World numbers (Source: World Health Organisation)

(In the last 24 hours)

Globally 14,765,256 cases (202,726) 612,054 deaths (4,286)

Americas 7,811,127 cases (109,052) 313,809 deaths (2 240)

Europe 3,124,701 cases (21,047) 208,469 deaths (524)

South-East Asia 1,520,780 cases (42,639) 35,891 deaths (770)

Eastern Mediterranean 1,414,462 cases (13,918) 35,628 deaths (483)

Africa 623,851 cases (12,666) 10,157 deaths (259)

Western Pacific 269,594 cases (3,404) 8,087 deaths (10)


UK numbers (Source UK Government)

As at 15:36 on 23rd July 2020:

Total number of lab-confirmed UK cases: 297,146 (769)

Total number of COVID-19 associated UK deaths: 45,554 (53)

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