Do I have to wear a face covering/mask?

Most people are now being asked to wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 from person to person.

You do not have to wear a face covering if you;

  • Are under the age of 13;
  • Are an employee working behind a partition, or if you are in an area not open to the public and can maintain 2 metre social distance from your colleagues; or,
  • Have a reasonable excuse not to.

The use of face coverings is now required in all indoor settings accessible to the public across Northern Ireland. This includes shops, shopping centres, public, private and school transport services, taxis, airplanes, public transport stations and airports, banks, churches, cinemas, and some government offices. You must wear a face covering in these places unless you have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one, such as:

  • When seeking medical assistance or to provide care to someone who needs assistance, such as a vulnerable person or in an emergency
  • If you have a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
  • When travelling with or caring for someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • If you need to remove it to avoid harm or injury to yourself or others
  • When eating, drinking, or to take medication
  • When asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or someone who may need to check your identity, for example, when buying alcohol or at the bank.

If you do not wear a face covering and you are not exempt or do not have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one, you are committing an offence and could be fined.

Regulations on wearing face coverings.

For more information you can contact us on 08088085678, email or online at REE Live Chat.

What does COVID-19 and policing mean for me?

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020 is a new emergency law that came into force on 28th March, 2020.  This law gives the police special powers.

If you are outside of your home and you are not social distancing from others the police have new powers to disperse (break up) crowds.  The police will do this in a staged way as follows:

  1. Police will encourage you to social distance or for a crowd to disperse.
  2. The police will give you a reason as to why they want you and your friends to disperse.
  3. If you do not listen to the police they have powers under the new law to enforce social distancing.
What will happen if my friends and/or I don’t social distance when asked by the police?

If you or your friends do not follow the directions of the police then you could be committing a criminal offence.  You may be:

  • given advice or guidance by the police;
  • issued with a Community Resolution Notice (this is a notice that can be issued to anyone 10 years old and over for a range of offences not just for COVID-19);
  • issued a penalty notice of £200 (the penalty notice is not a criminal conviction and can be reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days).

If the police have to issue you with further notices the fine can be doubled and you can be prosecuted if you do not pay the fine or comply with the notice. You can find out more about COVID-19 compliance and penalties here.

For more information you can contact us on 08088085678, email or online at REE Live Chat.

What if I need to contact the police during COVID-19?

You can still contact the police for help during COVID-19 by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 if the matter is not an emergency.

Police may ask you questions about your health and that of others in your home to see if anyone there has COVID-19 or is isolating before coming out to see you.