Face mask rules: Do you have to wear masks in the office as workers allowed back to work?

Face masks will be mandatory in some environments from next week. The Prime Minister laid out his plans for easing of coronavirus restrictions in England and said UK employers are now open to welcome staff back to offices. But are you legally obliged to wear a mask in the office?

Face masks will become mandatory for shoppers in England from July 24, following the precedent already set in Scotland.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced face coverings would become mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England.

He said the move would “give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops”.

The move is the latest extension of rules after masks became compulsory on public transport in England and NHS facilities across the UK on June 15.

READ MORE: Face masks: New quality stamp shows how well your covering works

Do you have to wear masks in the office?

According to Government guidance, a face covering is not mandated in offices.

The Government guidance reads: “A face covering can be very simple and may be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.

“It just needs to cover your mouth and nose.

“It is not the same as a face mask, such as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and care workers.

“Similarly, face coverings are not the same as the PPE used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context.

“Supplies of PPE, including face masks, must continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.”

This means you are not legally required to wear a mask in the office, but it is advised where social distancing is not possible.

Experts have been keen to stress no single method is a guarantee means of protection from coronavirus.

Instead, a balance of good hygiene practices, social distancing and face coverings is advised.

If the space is well-ventilated where fresh air can circulate, the risk of transmission is much lower than a stuffy and poorly ventilated environment.

Face coverings, therefore, would be advised in offices with poor ventilation and where social distancing is impossible.

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