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Health blog: When, why and how to wear a face covering

A message from Julie Webster, Wirral’s Director of Public Health

Dear residents,

Earlier this month, the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock announced that face coverings must be worn in shops and supermarkets from 24th July.

I want to start my blog this week by making clear that face coverings are not a replacement for 2 metres social distancing and regular hand washing to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

It is important that you continue to practice these measures when out and about even if you are wearing a face covering.

When to wear a face covering:

Currently, by law you must wear a face covering:

  • On public transport
  • In shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, post offices, banks, building societies indoor transport hubs such as bus and coach stations as of 24 July 2020.

There are some circumstances, for health, age or disability reasons, where people are not expected to wear face coverings.

I would ask you to check the government website for the latest guidance on when to wear one here.

“Why should I wear one?”

Face coverings are largely intended to protect others - not the wearer - against the spread of infection.

“How do I wear one?”

Whether you’re using a shop-bought face covering, homemade or a scarf - it is important to use face coverings properly. Here are some key pointers:

  • Wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.
  • Avoid touching your face or face covering as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands.
  • Change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it and continue to wash your hands regularly.
  • Change and wash your face covering daily. If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste.

If you want to make your own face covering from materials around your home please visit Big Community Sew where you will find step by step tutorials and other useful tips.


If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, and/or high temperature, and/or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste) you and your household must isolate at home. Wearing a face covering does not change this.

You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 – visit for more details.

In instances where you are contacted via the test and trace service, having been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will still need to self-isolate even if you have been wearing a face covering. This is because the risk of spread cannot be ruled out, even if wearing a face covering.

Thanks again for reading and please, take care.


Kepe up to date with the latest Government guidance at