30 November 2020
A law to make masks compulsory will come into effect tomorrow (Tuesday 1 December) at 10am. The Health Minister has signed an Order that makes this change, after States Members voted overwhelmingly to support this stance.
The requirement to wear masks in public indoor spaces where physical distancing and other measures cannot be guaranteed is one of a number of public health measures that, together, reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 and minimise its spread in the community.
This first order being made by the Health Minister will bring the current mask wearing guidelines into law. This makes mask-use compulsory in supermarkets, shops, post offices, banks, on public transport, in health care settings and when using close-contact services such as hairdressers and beauticians.
Masks remain strongly recommended where people are likely to be in close contact with others outside their household, particularly when this is likely to be for longer than 15 minutes. Wearing a mask and ensuring ventilation when you share lifts with others is particularly important. A requirement to wear masks in additional settings is being reviewed, and masks may be required in more places.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “We are doing all we can to protect Islanders and our health care system, while also keeping the island functioning as far as possible.
“Our strong recommendation that islanders should wear masks in retail settings had mixed success. Monitoring showed that there was 30-80% take-up across different settings. Now that we are seeing more cases in the winter months, we have felt it necessary to make this recommendation into a legal requirement.
“Government officials have received excellent support from the retail sector, including from the main supermarket chains. The sector has now given their support to go further with making masks mandatory in these settings.”
An exemption certificate will be available for people whose health conditions mean they cannot safely wear masks. Application forms will be available online and from a number of agreed public locations, like parish halls, larger supermarkets and the bus station. Mask exemption cards will be issued to those who have filled out an application form.