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Is wearing face masks mandatory? UK Rules on where you need to wear a mask - as England moves to Covid Plan A

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a number of Covid measures are to be dropped

Face masks are no longer mandatory in England as Covid Plan B restrictions come to an end.

But why have they being scrapped and what are the rules across the rest of the UK?

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Here’s what you need to know.

When can we stop wearing face masks?

England’s Covid Plan B measures are to end from 27 January, with mandatory face coverings in public places to be dropped.

Face masks will no longer be required in shops and on public transport, but people are still advised to wear coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces and when meeting strangers.

What else will no longer be mandatory as part of the end of Plan B?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced that a number of other measures are to be dropped, including Covid passports.

He also said the Government would immediately drop its advice for people to work from home.

In a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson also said mandatory Covid passports for entering nightclubs and large events would end, but organisations could choose to use the NHS Covid pass if they wished.

Secondary school pupils in England no longer have to wear face masks in classrooms from 20 January.

Mr Johnson said England was reverting to "Plan A" due to boosters and how people had followed Plan B measures.

He also told MPs scientists believed the Omicron wave had peaked nationally.

Mr Johnson also said the Government intended to end the legal requirement for people who test positive for Covid to self-isolate and replace it with advice and guidance.

The current regulations around self-isolation expire on 24 March and he said he expected not to renew them then, suggesting that date could be brought forward if the data allows.

At a Downing Street press conference, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: "This is a moment we can all be proud of.

"It’s a reminder of what this country can accomplish when we all work together."

However, he said this should not be seen as the "finish line" because the virus and future variants cannot be eradicated but that "we must learn to live with Covid in the same way we live with flu".

Mr Javid also told Sky News that Covid isolation will only end in March if data supports it.

He said: "We will decide as we get closer to March... based on the data at the time."

Pressed on this issue, Mr Javid added: "We would like to see it scrapped by the end of March."

Are face masks mandatory elsewhere in the UK?

In Scotland, from Friday (28 Fe face coverings will no longer be required for any adult taking part in organised activities when they are directly interacting with children under the age of five.

This change will bring the guidance for indoor activities into line with that for early learning and childcare settings.

However, secondary school pupils in Scotland will continue to have to wear face masks in classrooms for now.

Masks must also be worn in most indoor public spaces.

Face coverings are currently mandatory on public transport and in all indoor public places in Wales. They are required in gyms although can be removed while you’re exercising. Students also to required to continue to wear face coverings in schools in Wales until at least the February half-term.

In Northern Ireland, masks must be worn on public transport, in shops and hospitality venues unless you’re sitting down to eat or drink. Post-primary pupils must also wear face coverings inside school buildings, as must staff if they can’t socially distance.

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