News Alerts

13 Jul 2020 | 11:12 PM UTC

UK: Face masks to be compulsory in England's shops and supermarkets from July 24 /update 31

United Kingdom News Alert

Authorities to make face masks compulsory in England's shops and supermarkets as of July 24; follow government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 7/13/2020, 12:00 AM until 8/13/2020, 11:59 PM (Europe/London). COUNTRY/REGION England

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On Monday, July 13, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that face masks will be compulsory in supermarkets and shops in England from July 24 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Non-compliance may result in fines of up to £100 and the police, not retail staff, will be responsible for the enforcement of the restriction. Further details on the decision will reportedly be provided by Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Tuesday afternoon (local time), July 14.

UK authorities announced a list of over 50 countries and territories from which travelers have been able to travel to England from Friday, July 10, without facing a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival. The countries and territories listed by the British government have all been classified as 'low risk' in regards to COVID-19. A full list of the countries can be found here. Britons have been allowed to travel to the selected countries since July 4. However, quarantine measures may still be in place for travelers entering from the UK. Additional restrictions are in place for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland which may include mandatory quarantine measures or bans for international travelers.

Some restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 were reintroduced in Leicester (Leicestershire) on Tuesday, June 30, due to an increase in locally detected cases. Non-essential shops and schools have closed, and the easing of restrictions on pubs and restaurants in other parts of England on Saturday, July 4, has been postponed in the city. Authorities have stated that the measures will be in place for the entirety of the city, in addition to the suburb areas of Birstall, Glenfield, and Oadby.

From July 4, a number of COVID-19 restrictions were eased in the rest of England, with restaurants, pubs, cinemas, and hotels being permitted to reopen. However, the government has reserved the right to keep premises with a higher risk of transmission closed. Places of worship and outdoor gyms also were allowed to reopen. Gatherings of more than 30 people remain prohibited. Face masks remain compulsory on public transportation services.

As of July 13, there have been 291,685 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, and 44,915 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.


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