People around the UK must now wear face coverings in many public places.

But what protection do they offer, and what sort of coverings can be worn?

Why should we wear a face covering?

Face coverings reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking.

They should mainly be worn to protect other people from coronavirus, rather than yourself.

When worn correctly, they should cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission.

They can help to reduce the spread of the virus from people who are contagious, including those who have no symptoms, or are yet to develop them.

There is also evidence they can offer some protection to the wearer, although they are not a replacement for social distancing and hand-washing.

Where must they be worn in the UK?

Face coverings are now compulsory across the UK when:

People can be refused travel for not following the rules or fined as a last resort. In England, the police can issue a £200 fine to someone breaking the face covering rules. In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, a £60 fine can be imposed. Repeat offenders face bigger fines.

In England and Scotland, face coverings are also compulsory in a number of indoor spaces, including:

Scotland also requires face coverings to be worn in indoor spaces, such as staff canteens and corridors in workplaces. It no longer requires couples to wear them when exchanging marriage vows.

In Wales, face coverings must be worn in all indoor public places by customers and staff.

In Northern Ireland, they must be worn in "any other indoor place where goods or services are available to buy or rent".

Coronavirus: What are the rules for face masks or face coverings?

Coronavirus: What are the rules for face masks or face coverings?

Does everyone have to wear one?

Some people do not have to wear a face covering. They include:

You can remove your mask if:

Young children should not wear face masks because of the risk of choking and suffocation.

Coronavirus: What are the rules for face masks or face coverings?

What are the face-covering rules in schools?

The government does not recommend wearing face coverings in schools and colleges because of the controls already in place.

However, each nation is adopting different rules:

However, they will be mandatory for schools in parts of England that are under local restrictions, but not in classrooms.

Can I make one myself?

The BBC has created a guide on how to make your own face covering.

The government has issued its own advice too.

Do face coverings work?

Face coverings do not give the wearer as much protection as the masks that healthcare workers wear.

World Health Organization (WHO) advice says non-medical face coverings should be worn in public where social distancing is not possible.

They help us protect each other and reduce the spread from people who are contagious but have no symptoms, or are yet to develop symptoms.

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