HM Government reminds the public that legislation published on 31 July* made it mandatory for face masks, and not plastic shields, to be worn in certain spaces such a on public transport, and by staff in hair and beauty salons, in restaurants including terraces and in retail shops. Establishments and employees covered by the legislation would be in breach of the regulations if they are found to be using shields instead of face masks.
Public health advice provided to the government has emphasised that plastic face shields are not as effective as masks. As they do not form a seal against the face, shields only provide limited protection from inhaled aerosols and, whilst they may capture viral droplets in sneezes and coughs, shields do not impede aerosols to any great extent. In short, shields may provide an additional layer of protection but they are not an alternative to masks.
The new regulations allow officers of the Royal Gibraltar Police and Environmental Health Officers to issue on-the-spot fines of £100 to any employee or business owner in breach of these regulations.
It is understood that there are some exceptions to the legislation such as where an individual is unable to wear a mask because of some physical or mental illness or disability or in certain emergency situations. Children under the age of 11 do not have to wear a mask when travelling in a public service vehicle.
HMGoG continues to recommend the use of masks by any person inside establishments if the rules of social distancing cannot be observed and may extend compulsory use of masks in the near future if it is thought necessary.
* The Civil Contingencies Emergency (Coronavirus) (Businesses and Restrictions) (No.3) (Amendment) Regulations 2020