Face coverings are intended to protect against the spread of infection. Even if you are wearing a face covering, you should still practice social distancing and regular hand washing.
You must wear a face covering on public transport and face coverings must be worn in shops and supermarkets unless you are exempt.
- Read the government announcement about mandatory face coverings in shops and supermarkets
- Read TFL information about face coverings on public transport
The government has issued full guidance on wearing face coverings. We have included some of this information on this page.
How to wear a face covering
A face covering should:
- cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
- fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
- be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
- be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
- ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
- unless disposable, it should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged
When wearing a face covering you should:
- wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on
- avoid wearing on your neck or forehead
- avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
- change the face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
When removing a face covering:
- wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
- only handle the straps, ties or clips
- do not share with someone else to use
- if single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
- if reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
- wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed
Make your own face covering
You can make your own face covering, the government has published guidance on making your own cloth face covering but there are lots of guides online that you could also follow.