As coronavirus restrictions ease around the UK, some different rules on face coverings will apply.

Face masks are currently required in almost all indoor public spaces that are open, both for staff and customers.

Anyone who fails to adhere to the rules faces a £200 fine. 

Experts have said we should continue to wear face masks after legal limits on social contact are removed.

But when is that? Here is everything we know so far.

What are the current rules for wearing face masks?

The Government has advised the public to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces, like shops, where they will be with people they would not usually meet, since May 11.

The full list includes:

  • Supermarkets and shops
  • Banks and building societies
  • Transport hubs, including train stations and terminals, airports, ports, bus and coach stations or terminals
  • Post Offices
  • Sandwich shops
  • Takeaways 
  • Places of worship 
  • Taxis
  • Private vehicle hire
  • Funeral service providers

Children under 11 years old, those with "certain disabilities" and emergency workers are exempt.

Other people exempt are:

  • An employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
  • A constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty
  • An emergency response member of staff, such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty
  • An official such as a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties
  • If you are on board public transport but remain in your own vehicle, such as a car ferry

When can we stop wearing face masks?

The Government confirmed at the start of this month that secondary school pupils will no longer have to wear face masks in class.

The decision is the first step towards masks no longer being necessary in other indoor settings, such as shops.

The Government will be reviewing the use of masks before the introduction of step four of their lockdown roadmap.

Step four is the final stage before lockdown is expected to be fully over, when all restrictions should be lifted.

But that won’t happen before June 21 at the earliest.

At that time the Government will review all social distancing measures in place, including the mandatory face masks restriction and one metre rule as it aims to “return to as near as normal as quickly as possible”.

The Argus: Supermarket shoppers are still meant to be wearing face masks in stores in the UKSupermarket shoppers are still meant to be wearing face masks in stores in the UK

In the roadmap, the Government states: “The results of the review will help inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which rules on one metre plus, face masks and other measures may be lifted.

“The review will also inform guidance on working from home – people should continue to work from home where they can until this review is complete.”

The Sun has reported the requirement to wear masks in shops could be dropped on June 21.

A National Economy Recovery Taskforce insider told the paper: “The current thinking points to social distancing going and mask wearing only in limited settings like buses, trains and the Tube.

“Obviously this is all dependent on final sign-off but the data is looking good and the political will is there for a proper lift-off.”

Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the Oxford vaccine trial, has said the end of masks is “getting closer to happening”.

However, Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has urged caution on scrapping mask requirements completely after 21 June.

“It’s more likely to be that we wear masks in certain places, that we are continuing with hand washing, making sure that we are sensible about the way in which we interact with people in indoor environments,” he said.

“I’d be very surprised if we go in year on year with needing to do things more than that, but this coming winter I think we need to wait and see how far we get on with the current reduction in numbers that needs to occur.”

Mary Ramsay, the head of immunisation at Public Health England, told BBC News that face coverings could be mandatory in crowded places for years.

“People have got used to those lower-level restrictions now, and people can live with them, and the economy can still go on with those less severe restrictions in place,” she said.

“So I think certainly for a few years, at least until other parts of the world are as well vaccinated as we are, and the numbers have come down everywhere, that is when we may be able to go very gradually back to a more normal situation.”

A SAGE sub-group, the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) has warned “maintaining baseline measures” will still be required even when life does get back to normality.