Summary of face covering rules in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and enclosed transport hubs

Woman wearing face mask

UK Hospitality: Summary of Face Covering Rules in Shops, Supermarkets, Shopping Centres and Enclosed Transport Hubs


The government has introduced new guidelines regarding the wearing of face coverings in enclosed public spaces. The full list of provisions are included in the Regulations. These regulations apply only in England.

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The major change impacting hospitality businesses will be to those that are offering takeaway services. From Friday (24th July) it will become mandatory for customers to wear a face covering while ordering from a takeaway establishment.

The major changes to previous guidance from Friday 24th July are as follows:

• Face coverings will be mandatory in additional enclosed public spaces. This includes shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and transport hubs.

• Face coverings can include a fabric covering such as a scarf or bandana.

• Venues such as restaurants, pubs and gyms will be exempt from these rules.

• It will be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to takeaway from cafes and shops from Friday 24th July.

• 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.

• Face coverings will not be mandatory for anyone under the age of 11, those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.

There will be no change to the provisions that exist for staff members within these establishments. This responsibility remains with the site operator.

• The responsibility for wearing a face covering sits with individuals, who could face a fine by the police of up to £100, as is currently the case on public transport.

• The Government is encouraging businesses to take steps to encourage customers to follow the law, through signs and providing information.

Ordering in a Venue that Offers Takeaway and Seating

– Under the new provisions, a member of public would be required to wear a face covering if they were entering a venue that functioned as a takeaway establishment. If seating is available, when seated, the customer would be permitted to remove their face covering. When ordering at a counter a face covering should be worn.

Outlets in Transport Hubs

– In the regulations, a transport hub means any enclosed part of premises used as a station, terminal, port or other similar premises from or to which a public transport service operates. This does not include an area where seating or tables are made available for the consumption of food and drink.

This would include areas that serve such a purpose in Airport terminals. Outdoor seating in these areas is therefore exempt.

Food Courts and Outlets that Extend onto Mall Areas

– As with businesses operating in transport hubs, extended seating outside of cafes,
restaurants, pubs or bars will be exempt from the new face covering rules as part of the
exemption for hospitality businesses, provided table service is provided.


• Anyone from the following list is exempt from wearing a face covering:

– A child who is under the age of 11;

– A person responsible for a relevant place or an employee of that person acting in the course
of their employment;

– Any other person providing services in the relevant place under arrangements made with
the person responsible for a relevant place;

– An employee of an operator of a public transport service acting in the course of their

– A person who enters or is within a transport hub in a vehicle (other than a vehicle being
used for the provision of a public transport service);

– A constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty;

– An emergency responder (other than a constable) acting in their capacity as an emergency

– A relevant official acting in the course of their employment or their duties.

Other FAQs

Delivery drivers – do they need to wear a face covering when arriving for a takeaway pickup?


Enforcement – are retail, coffee-shop and takeaway staff obliged to enforce this?

The duty is on the customer and police are responsible for enforcement. Business are asked to take
steps to encourage compliance, such as signage.

Counter service: would a customer need to wear a covering upon entry to the venue and if
they were to return to the counter for service?

Yes, they would be required to wear such a covering until they sat down to eat.

Self-service: if the customer was self-serving (i.e. picking up a sandwich and a drink and
paying at a self-checkout) would they need to wear a covering?


Airport terminals – if seating is contained in a venue is this exempt as treated as hospitality?

It is exempt if table service is provided, otherwise it is not.

What of Coffee shop concessions inside retail outlets, e.g. a café in a department store and seating area inside a shopping centre?

They are covered by the regulations unless they are provided with table service.

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Tags : face masksUKHospitality
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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