From this Friday (24 July), when out shopping in Watford and beyond, residents are reminded that they must wear a face covering to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The new rules were announced earlier this week after scientific evidence showed that when used correctly, wearing a face-covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus, helping to protect others.

Shop workers themselves will not have to wear face coverings at work. Others who are exempt from the rules include children under 11 and those with a physical or mental illness or disability, if this would cause them severe distress. A full list of those exempt can be found on Those who are not exempt but fail to wear a mask will face a fine of up to £100 which will be enforced by the police.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “When you’re out and about supporting our local businesses please stay safe and consider others by following the new rules and advice about face coverings. To make sure you’re prepared, it’s handy to always have a face covering on you in case you need it. It’s also important that we all remember that face coverings are not an alternative to social distancing, good hand washing and good hygiene. I’m really grateful to everyone in our town who has been continuing to stay safe and support our local businesses. ”

Tim Hutchings, Executive Member for Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “We are asking everyone in Hertfordshire to play their part and wear face coverings whenever they are in shops. Homemade, fabric face coverings can help reduce the spread of the virus from people who are contagious but don’t realise it because they don’t have symptoms. They can be washed and re-used, are easy and cheap to make and are readily available to buy in the shops or online.

“However, if you know, or suspect that you have COVID-19, you and your household must not go out and about. Stay at home and arrange to get tested with either a postal test or at a drive-through test centre. If your test result shows that you have COVID-19, you and the people you live with must all stay at home and self-isolate, in line with NHS guidance.

The new rules are in addition to those that were made in June, when the government made it mandatory for people to wear face coverings when they are using any form of public transport, or when they are going to hospital for an appointment or to visit or accompany somebody who needs assistance. Face coverings will not be required in pubs, cafes or restaurants, where they would not be practical.

The symptoms of Covid-19 are a new, continuous cough, a temperature, or losing your sense of taste or smell.  You can book a test either by using this website – or by calling 119 if you don’t have access to the internet.

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