Why is wearing face coverings now a legal requirement in shops and other indoor public places from 14 September?
The Welsh Government has previously advised that wearing face coverings can reduce the spread of the coronavirus. However, we did not impose a legal requirement to do so because of the relatively low numbers of cases in Wales. The rising incidence rate of cases in Wales now means we are making it a legal requirement.
Where will face coverings be required?
It is your responsibility to provide your own face covering, it is not the responsibility of the hotel to provide them for your use.
Face coverings will be required in all indoor public places, for both customers and staff working in those indoor public areas. This includes a very wide range of locations, such as shops and shopping centres, places of worship, hairdressers and salons, cinemas and museums, gyms and leisure centres, and anywhere that is open to members of the public.
It would also include any public areas within buildings that are otherwise closed to the public – for example a reception area of an office building.
The only indoor public areas where face coverings will not be required are where you are inside a place to eat or drink, for example, cafés, restaurants and pubs. But where food and drink is only being served for consumption in part of the premises – for example, a café which also offers take away services – you will need to wear a face covering in the parts of the premises where people are not eating or drinking.
We require all residents and guests to wear a face covering when moving in and around the hotel and when moving around our Function Room bar, this includes when leaving the building and using toilets, face coverings can only be removed when you are seated at your allocated table. We will be operating table service only.
Who will the requirement apply to?
The requirement will apply to everyone aged 11 and over – including customers and staff. However, you may have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if (for example):
you are not able to put on or to wear a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, or because of a disability or impairment;
you are accompanying somebody who relies on lip reading where they need to communicate; or
you are escaping from a threat or danger and don’t have a face covering.
Instructions on how to make a face covering.
If the requirement applies to me, will I have to keep my face covering on at all times?
In general, yes, but you may have a reasonable excuse to remove a face covering temporarily if (again, for example):
you need to take medicines;
you need to eat or drink; or
you need to remove a face covering to avoid harm or injury, either to yourself or others – for example to get somebody’s attention about a danger.
Whether somebody has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering at any particular moment depends on the individual and the circumstances. This may mean that somebody has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering sometimes but not others. And the reasonable excuse may only be temporary.
For example, when considering whether there is a need to eat or drink while in a place where face coverings are mandatory, any physical conditions and the temperature and humidity may all be relevant. Most people do not need to eat or drink on short trips away from home, but this may be different for somebody who is diabetic, for example, or in in hot weather.
How can I show that I am not required to wear a face covering?
Whether somebody has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering will not always be obvious. Disabilities and impairments are not always visible to others, and respect and understanding should be shown to those who have good reasons not to wear face coverings.
We advise people to carry information if possible which demonstrates why they have a reasonable excuse (for example a prescription or evidence such as a hospital appointment letter relating to a medical condition). A number of organisations such as transport operators have created cards that can be downloaded from their websites and printed.
How will the requirement be enforced?
The Welsh Government hopes people will understand the reasons for wearing face coverings and will do so. It is vital however the new rules are explained to people and they have an opportunity to comply.
Managers of premises are required to provide information about the legal requirement to those intending to enter. This information may be provided in a variety of ways.
When asked, customers will be given an opportunity to wear a face covering or explain why they have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering. If they are not complying with the law customers may be asked to leave the premises.
Police or environmental health officers can also issue a fixed penalty for breaches of these requirements. A first offence is punishable by a penalty of £60 (which doubles for each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £1,920). Repeat offenders could also be prosecuted in court where there is no limit to the fine that may be issued.
Face coverings must cover the mouth and nose.
Remove the face covering carefully – do not touch the front of the face covering or the part of which has been in contact with your mouth and nose.
Please remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser immediately after removing your face covering and throwing it away.
Both the police and local authorities have powers to enforce the requirements on businesses, services and workplaces imposed by the regulations.
The rules on who can meet or gather within an extended household are that:
No more than six people aged 11 or over can be part of any one gathering indoors at any one time.
There is no limit on the number of children aged under 11 who can be part of a gathering.
Social gatherings or ‘wakes’ are permissible when directly associated with a funeral taking place on or after 22 August 2020. These gatherings, which are limited to a cap of 30 people, must take place within the duties on organisers created by Regulation 12
The current regulations allow wedding ceremonies to take place in approved and licensed premises up to the capacity of the venue given social distancing requirements. There is guidance on wedding ceremonies. They also allow for Covid-19 safe wedding receptions to take place for up to 30 people. This applies to both outdoor and indoor receptions at the current time. It is allowed to conduct a reception at a venue which has not held the wedding ceremony itself. However, both the reception and the ceremony must take place on the same day.