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Preventing coronavirus

Advice on preventing coronavirus.


  • wear a face covering in shops, on public transport and in enclosed public spaces
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • maintain social distancing

The NHS website has further advice on how to avoid spreading coronavirus.

Stay at home

It's still very important that people stay home unless necessary to go out for specific reasons set out in law. These include:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open – to get things like food and medicine, and to collect goods ordered online or on the phone
  • to exercise or spend time outdoors for recreation
  • any medical need, to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

Read the government's information on what you can and can't do.

People who are vulnerable and shielding must continue to do so. They should continue to stay at home.

Face coverings and clothing

New advice from the government says that members of the public should wear a face covering in shops, on public transport and in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not always possible. This includes banks, building societies and post offices.

This is aimed at preventing people who may have the virus, but are not experiencing symptoms, from passing it on to others. Avoid touching your face covering once it’s on. Contact with your face can help spread the virus.

For find out more about where and when you should wear a face covering

Face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing and you should not buy surgical or medical masks but use DIY-type masks, scarves or other coverings.

You should still be maintaining a 2 metre distance from other people wherever possible.

You're also advised to wash your clothing more often as some evidence is showing that the coronavirus can stay on fabrics.

Face coverings will not be mandatory for:

  • anyone under the age of 11
  • those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering

Anyone who doesn’t abide by the regulations – and is not exempt under one of the categories set out in the regulations – could face a fine by the police of up to £100.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough and/or high temperature) you and all members of your household should isolate at home. Wearing a face covering does not mean that you can go out if you have symptoms.

Find out how to make your own face covering.

You can get advice from the World Health Organisation on how to correctly wear a face covering.