Check out the latest information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19).
Coronavirus (COVID-19) usually spreads through droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking.
The best available evidence suggests that a face covering, if used correctly and safely, may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances.
Reusable cloth face coverings can be purchased or made at home. You may decide to use a scarf or religious garment which covers the nose and mouth. It is important that the fabric is breathable and that it securely covers the side of the face.
Face coverings are mandatory in shops and a number of other settings. The wearing of these is also being strongly encouraged in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Face coverings are also needed in hospitals, GP surgeries and when visiting some care homes. Individual settings may have their own policies and require you to take other measures.
There are some circumstances where people are unable to wear face coverings. This could be for health, age or equality reasons. Please be mindful and respectful that the reasons for this may not be visible to you or others.
If you cannot wear a face covering then you may wish to carry an exemption card with you. This is a personal choice and will depend on your personal preference.
Please remember that face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing. It is important to follow all the other government advice including staying safe outside your home.