Face masks are no longer a legal requirement in England – but some businesses are still requesting they are worn.
Sky News explains how the rules have changed, and what is still required.
How have the rules changed in England?
The government’s Plan B COVID restrictions, introduced to slow the spread of the new Omicron variant, have been lifted.
The advice for pupils and staff to wear masks in classrooms lapsed on 20 January.
Face coverings are now no longer legally required in any settings, although the government “recommends” they are worn in enclosed or private spaces.
Where are face masks still required?
London mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed face masks will remain mandatory on all Transport for London services, including the Tube.
A number of supermarkets – John Lewis, Waitrose, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s – have asked staff and customers to keep wearing them.
Asda told Sky News it would be “following government guidance” and not be asking customers and staff to wear masks, but would be encouraging people who wish to wear a mask to keep doing so.
Morrison’s has confirmed it will be following government guidance on masks, which means they will not be compulsory in stores in England.
Aldi has said face masks are now a “personal choice” when shopping in-store, but perspex screens and sanitising stations will remain in use.
Lidl said now face masks are no longer a legal requirement it would “have signage in place” remind customers that “the government recommends that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces”. Staff will be allowed to individually decide if they wish to keep wearing a mask.
What are the rules elsewhere across the UK?
Face coverings are still a legal requirement in most indoor public places in Scotland – including bars, restaurants, and churches and on public transport.
The rules apply to anyone aged over 12 and also include the workplace, and tradespeople working in other people’s homes.
In Northern Ireland, the use of masks is required in all indoor settings accessible to the public. This includes shops, public, private and school transport, banks, and cinemas.
The rules do not apply to anyone aged under 13 and primary school pupils are exempt on public transport.
You do not have to wear a face covering when exercising at the gym.
In Wales, face coverings are mandatory in all indoor public places, unless you are seated to eat or drink. The rules also apply during weddings. These rules apply to anyone aged over 11 who does not have an exemption.
Face coverings are not required to be worn in indoor wedding ceremonies by any participants.
Wales updated its guidance on schools temporarily, meaning face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in all indoor areas. Secondary school pupils should wear masks in the classroom if social distancing cannot be maintained.
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