Face covering legal requirement lifted in many indoor public places
The legal requirement to wear a face covering in many indoor public places has today come to an end.
The change will mean people will no longer be legally required to wear face coverings in a range of indoor places, including cinemas, theatres, community centres, museums and gyms.
But face coverings will continue to be a legal requirement for adults and children aged 11 and over, unless exempt, in all retail settings, on public transport and in health and care settings.
Official guidance will also continue to highlight the importance of face coverings as one means of helping keep people safe.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“We have worked hard to make sure the protections we have in place are proportionate to the public health situation and the risk of coronavirus.
“Thanks to everyone’s hard work and all their sacrifices, cases of coronavirus are falling across Wales. Now is the right time to relax the general requirement to wear a face covering in many indoor public places.
“But we will keep the legal requirement in place in retail, public transport and health and social care, which are widely used and essential sectors.
“This is part of our cautious and careful response to the pandemic. We will continue to consider the latest scientific and medical evidence to inform our approach.
“Later this week I will be setting our longer term plans to manage the pandemic, as we carry out the regular three-week review of the regulations.”
As schools today return from their half-term break, they will return to using their local decision framework, making decisions to reflect local risks.
Face coverings will no longer be routinely required in classrooms but they should continue to be worn in communal areas in secondary schools.
Today’s relaxations are the latest step in the changes the First Minister announced at the last three-week review of the coronavirus regulations.
Face coverings still remain a legal requirement in retail, public transport and health and social care. The requirement applies to adults and children aged 11 and over. The Welsh Government has said that if public health conditions continue to improve this legal requirement could be lifted by the end of March.
The outcome of the next review of regulations will be announced on 4 March, when all the remaining measures at alert level zero will be reviewed.