Does the ban on face coverings apply at all healthcare institutions?

Yes. From 1 August 2019 you may no longer wear clothing that makes your face unidentifiable, such as a full-face motorcycle helmet or burka, in and around healthcare buildings.

However, face coverings may be worn in residential rooms where patients or clients are staying indefinitely. The government regards these rooms as a patient or client’s private space.

Main types of healthcare institution where the ban applies

The healthcare institutions where face coverings may not be worn include:

  • hospitals
  • physiotherapy practices
  • doctors’ surgeries
  • dentists’ surgeries
  • pharmacies
  • locations, like sports halls, where children are vaccinated against infectious diseases as part of the national vaccination programme.

The ban also applies on any land that belongs to these institutions. For example, the area around a hospital.

Are you unsure whether you can enter a building wearing a face covering?

If so, contact the organisation in question for more information.

Face coverings are permitted if patient or client is staying indefinitely

Face coverings may be worn by patients or clients and their visitors in residential rooms at healthcare institutions where the patient or client is staying indefinitely. In the case of a care home or other healthcare institution in which people spend their entire life or the last phase of their life, the institution is a person’s home.

The government regards such residential rooms as the patient or client’s private space. It is up to the healthcare institution to decide whether face coverings may be worn in shared areas like kitchens or sitting rooms used by these patients.