From today, people in Scotland must wear a face mask if visiting a shop, but why do you need to wear one and are there exceptions to the rules?

Here's everything you need to know:

Why should you wear a face mask, and do they stop the spread of coronavirus?

Face coverings could reduce the spread of Covid-19, according to a new study by the University of Edinburgh. Research has found that wearing a face covering can reduce the forward distance of an exhaled breath by more than 90%.

As the breath could contain small droplets of water, some of which may contain traces of the virus, experts have said that covering up the mouth and nose could help combat Covid-19.

READ MORE: Coronavirus RECAP: Nicola Sturgeon confirms Phase 3 after ZERO overnight deaths in Scotland

When do you need to wear a face mask?

From July 10, a face mask must be worn by anyone using a shop indoors, or any indoor service which offers goods or services for sale or hire.

You do not need to wear a face mask if you are in as a cafe, coffee shops, restaurants or pubs. The rules also do not apply if you are visiting a bank. Members of staff may opt to wear a face mask. However, there is an exemption for staff where 2m physical distancing or Perspex screens are in place.

Public transport users will also be required top wear a face covering. Face masks must be on train services including the Glasgow subway, buses and tram services, in taxis and private hire vehicles and when commuting through stations and airports. 

Face coverings must also be worn on ferry services unless social distancing can be achieved and on any airline services. More details on phase 3 can be found HERE

Face covering exemptions

While a face mask is mandatory in shops nad in transport, there are some exemptions. Those who do not need to wear a facemask include:

  • Children under 5 years of age
  • Police constables or workers such as paramedics acting in the course of their duty 
  • Staff such as drivers or checkout assistants who are physically separated, by means of, for example, screens, from passengers or customers
  • Shop workers if they maintain a 2-metre distance from customers or members of the public.

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You may also not need to wear a face covering if you have a health condition or you are disabled and a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety or because you cannot apply a covering and wear it in the proper manner safely and consistently.

Face masks do not need to be worn

  • you need to eat or drink
  • you are taking medication
  • you are communicating with someone else who relies on lip reading
  • a relevant person, such as a police officer, asks you to remove your face covering

Where can I buy a face mask?

Face masks are readily available at many supermarkets. You can find independent sellers HERE 

What else can I do to stop the spread of Covid-19?

The WHO advises people to frequently wash their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or warm water and soap, cover their mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughing. Aside from regular hand washing people can ensure their work surfaces and door handles are clean and they can try to avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.