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Face coverings to become mandatory in shops from Friday 24 July

Bedford Borough Council is encouraging people to wear face coverings in shops, supermarkets and other situations where maintaining two metres social distancing may be difficult, if they can.

This is ahead of Friday 24 July, when face coverings are to become mandatory in supermarkets and shops.

There are many different options but people are encouraged to use a reusable face covering or a home-made one rather than a disposable one (where possible).

A face covering should be cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It should fit comfortably but securely against the side of your face, and be secured to the head with ties or ear loops.

You should avoid touching the face covering while you are wearing it. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before putting a face covering on, and both before and after taking it off. Cllr Louise Jackson, portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“We know this will be an adjustment and we would encourage people to embrace this change sooner rather than later.

“Remember, face coverings work best if as many people as possible are wearing them- your covering keeps someone else safe, and theirs keeps you safe.

“Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for other measures, so please do continue to stay 2 metres apart from others and wash your hands regularly.”

Face coverings work by protecting others, not the wearer

A ‘face covering’ does not mean a medical grade mask, it is just something which safely covers the nose and mouth from a purpose-bought covering to a scarf.

Face coverings work by protecting others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth and prevent droplets being spread. That is why it is so important that everyone who is not exempt wear a mask while on public transport, in a shop or in a supermarket, not just those who are vulnerable.

Single-use masks should be disposed of with your non-recyclable waste and reusable masks should be washed in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Advice on face coverings, exemptions, and how to make face coverings, can be found on the Government website.