Wearing a face covering in Sefton shops

Face coverings will become mandatory in shops from Friday 24th July and Sefton Council is urging people to fully comply with the rules and keep each other as safe as possible on our high streets.

With shops now open and people encouraged to get back out onto the high streets, people are being urged to do everything they can to protect their community and continue to reduce the level of transmission.

Face coverings protect others from droplets from your nose and mouth if you are asymptomatic. If we all wear one, we can reduce transmission between households.

The government announced today (23rd) that face coverings will be mandatory in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices and transport hubs.

It also said it will be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. If you are in a premises where you are able to sit down and consume food or drink that you have bought, then you can remove your face covering in order to eat and drink on-site.

However, wearing a face covering will not be made mandatory in other venues that have measures in place to protect staff and the public from COVID-19. These include:

  • eat-in restaurants and pubs
  • hairdressers and other treatment salons
  • gyms and leisure centres
  • cinemas, concert halls and theatres

Many people may be confused by the new guidance or unsure how to use a face covering properly.

Margaret Jones, Interim Director of Public Health for Sefton, explained: “A face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.

“They can be easily made from things you have at home like an old t-shirt, or you can simply tie a scarf or bandana behind your head.

“Whatever you use, it is important to wash your hands before putting it on and after taking it off. Face coverings can be reused, just store in a plastic bag until you have the chance to wash it with your other laundry.”

Below is a handy FAQ series to help people understand face coverings

Where should you wear a mask?
People already have to wear face coverings on public transport and in hospitals. From Friday 24th July, face coverings will be mandatory in shops.

Which type of mask should you choose?
It is not necessary for you to wear a medically approved surgical mask. Cloth masks or homemade face coverings are sufficient to reduce transmission

Are homemade masks effective?
Face coverings are effective in blocking droplets from your nose and mouth. They are designed to protect others from catching COVID-19 from you, they are not designed to protect you from catching COVID-19. However, if everyone wears a face covering, transmission can be reduced which will protect us all.

What material should you choose?
Tightly woven fabric with a high thread count is best. A combination of fabrics, for example an absorbent inner layer and a waterproof outer layer works well.

Is a scarf just as good?
A scarf is acceptable, but it is not as effective as a face covering that fits snugly around your nose, chin and cheeks.

How many layers should your mask have?
The best masks are made up of three layers or more, with a filter layer in the middle, like a paper towel or piece of silk that can be replaced

How should it fit?
A face covering should fit snugly on your nose, chin and cheeks but still be breathable and comfortable.

How clean do your hands need to be before touching your face covering?
You should wash your hands before putting on a face covering and do the same when you remove it

How do you prevent your glasses from steaming up?
Tuck your  face covering under your glasses and secure the face covering with your glasses lower down on your nose. If it fits snugly on your nose and cheeks this problem should be reduced.

Should you change your mask during the day?
One face covering should be sufficient throughout the day, if it becomes damp it is less effective and can cause skin irritation so you should try to avoid this.

How often should you wash it?
You should wash your face covering after every use.

How should you wash it?
You can wash your face covering with your normal laundry.

Do children have to wear face coverings?
Children under 11 are exempt from mandatory face coverings and children under 3 should not wear one. Children with breathing difficulties, disabilities or who are unable to put on or take a mask off unassisted are also exempt.

Who shouldn’t wear a face covering ?
People with breathing difficulties, disabilities or who are unable to put on or take a mask off unassisted are also exempt. If you are travelling with someone who relies on lip-reading, you are not required to wear a mask

You can find the full details of the Government’s rules on face covering here.

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