Face masks will still have to be worn in some public places in Wales – in break from England rules

Face masks will remain mandatory in some public places in Wales until COVID-19 is no longer a public health threat, the Welsh government has said.

The move in Wales is in contrast to that of England, where legal requirements to wear masks look set to end once the country reaches Step 4 of roadmap out of lockdown on 19 July.

A final decision on England’s path out of restrictions is expected to be taken on Monday.

In Wales, masks must still be worn in taxis, on trains and buses, as well as health and social care settings when coronavirus restrictions are eased, the Welsh government said.

It added that “active further consideration” is being given to whether they will still be required by law in other settings, like retail.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We will need everyone’s help to keep coronavirus under control as we continue to respond to the pandemic – this virus has quite certainly not gone away.

“We know many people are still worried and anxious about going out. We will maintain the requirement to wear face coverings in certain places – on public transport and health and social care settings, and others where necessary – to help keep us all safe.”

More on Covid-19

The government said scientific evidence supports the use of face coverings as a way of reducing the transmission of the virus.

It said they are “particularly useful” in crowded, indoor areas with poor ventilation.

Mr Drakeford is due to make a statement on Wednesday setting out further details on the new alert level zero for Wales.

The country is currently at alert level one and face coverings are mandatory in all indoor public places.

On Friday, it was announced that face coverings will not be routinely recommended in classrooms across Wales from September.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to announce her country’s next steps out of lockdown on Tuesday, but
has already described Mr Johnson’s approach as “something of an exception”, appearing to indicate hers will be more cautious.

In Northern Ireland, the removal of rules around all face coverings, with regulations potentially replaced by guidance, are due to be considered next month.

The Stormont Executive has already announced that the legal requirement to wear face coverings in places of worship is also set to be removed on 26 July, while the use of face masks in classrooms is to be removed from guidance.

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