Wearing face masks and coverings became the 2020 accessory we didn't see coming. In order for everyone to stay safe and continue to have some freedom to enjoy and experience NewcastleGateshead - it is mandatory that we wear face masks in multiple settings. It is part of core government guidelines around preventing the spread of Covid-19 continue to evolve. Read on to discover current advise around wearing face coverings in NewcastleGateshead and how to feel safe when you are outside your home. 

    • People who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, such as because of an underlying health condition, will continue to be exempt from these new obligations.

Do I have to wear a face mask when using public transport in Newcastle or Gateshead?

Government guidelines state that it is a legal requirement to wear a face mask or sufficient covering like a scarf, if you are using public transport in England. A face covering is a covering of any type which covers your nose and mouth. Wearing a face mask or covering will be a condition of travel. Not wearing one could lead to a fine and you can be refused travel. This applies to everyone using buses, trains, Tyne and Wear Metro and ferries. You can buy face masks from vending machines at 12 metro stations around Tyne and Wear if you find you've arrived for your metro without one. 

You must wear your face mask whilst waiting at any indoor transport hub too - for example, inside Haymarket and Eldon Square bus terminals or Newcastle Central Station.

Exemptions will be made for very young children, the disabled and those with breathing difficulties.

Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers will continue to be advised to wear face coverings.

Do I have to wear a face mask in a taxi? 

Yes, it is required that you must wear a mask when you are using a private hire vehicle or or taxi.

Do I have to wear a face mask when using Newcastle Airport?

Yes. All passengers must wear a face mask within the terminal building and whilst on their flight. If a passenger does not have a face mask there will be masks available in the terminal on arrival at Newcastle Airport.

Do I need to wear a face mask when I am shopping?

It is mandatory to wear a face mask or sufficient scarf covering over your nose and mouth in shops and supermarkets across England. Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100.

Shoppers visiting indoor shopping centres like Metrocentre, must also wear a face covering. If you are popping into the bank, using post offices and other services then you must also wear a face covering.

Do I need to wear a face mask in pubs and restaurants?

New rules around wearing face masks in hospitality venues came into force from 24 September which means that if you are visiting a pub, cafe or restaurant, you must wear a face covering except when you are seated a table to eat or drink.  If you are popping in to collect a takeaway, a mask must be worn too.  

You will also notice that staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings (from 24 September). 

Do I need to wear a face mask when I visit an attraction?

Yes, it is mandatory to wear a face mask in the following types of businesses including attractions, spa and beauty venues and entertainment venues in England. 

You need to wear a mask in the following full list: 

  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • bingo halls
  • concert halls
  • museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites.
  • nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers - other than where necessary to remove for treatments
  • massage parlours
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • places of worship
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • community centres
  • social clubs
  • tattoo and piercing parlours
  • indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities e.g. laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites etc)

To summarise, where is it mandatory to wear a face mask in England?

It is currently mandatory to wear a face mask in the following places:

  • on public transport 
  • inside transport hubs 
  • shops and supermarkets
  • indoor shopping centres 
  • other high streets businesses including banks, building societies, post offices
  • indoor attractions and entertainment venues (as listed above) 
  • hair and beauty venues 
  • public areas in hotels and hostels 
  • inside restaurants, pubs and cafes (until you are seated at your table to eat and drink)

You are expected to wear a face covering immediately before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave.

How do I make a face mask?

The new guidance for the general public refers to face coverings - not surgical masks - which can easily be made at home. There are some helpful tips on how to make your own face mask on the BBC News website and the government have also issued suggestions on how to make face coverings from old t-shirts too. It is also advised that face masks are washed daily to prevent further infection. 

Where can I buy face masks in Newcastle? 

If you don't fancy making your own face covering then you can buy fabric face masks* from a wide range of supermarkets, fashion shops and pharmacists across the city. For something more unique, buy your face mask from Kota - a small, local business in Newcastle city centre who are currently selling their rather stylish face masks from their online store here

If you want to make a fashion statement - designer, independent shop JulesB in Jesmond are selling high quality, reusable face masks online for men, women and children; 30% of profits will be donated to NHS charities. 

*Please note that these are not medical grade mask.

Where can I find more information about wearing face masks in England?

For full guidelines on how to stay safe outside your home, including wearing face coverings, have a look at the government website here which is regularly updated and information is changing all the time.

It is still strongly advised that you maintain social distancing and regularly wash your hands as well as wearing your face masks. It is also important to wash or sanitise your hands before and after touching your face covering as well as ensuring you wash your face mask when you take it off.

Please check back for further information as guidelines around the coronavirus and staying safe outside you home continue to change and evolve.