Coronavirus: Protective Clothing

Home Office written question – answered on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of Clive Betts Clive Betts Chair, Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, Chair, Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what powers the police have to enforce the wearing of face coverings in shops during the covid-19 outbreak; and whether the police may require people to produce documentation to prove a medical exemption from the requirements to wear face coverings.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020, as amended, requires members of the public to wear a face covering in relevant indoor public settings unless an exemption applies, or the individual has a reasonable excuse.

The police have the power to enforce the requirement to wear a face covering including directing the individual to wear a face covering, directing the individual to leave the relevant place, and issuing a fixed penalty notice of £200 (reducing to £100 if paid within 14 days) doubling upon each repeat offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

Police officers receive guidance on the law and that they should use their discretion at all times. As they have done throughout the pandemic, the police apply a four-step escalation method - engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance before moving to take enforcement action.

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