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Principles For Safe Urban Centres And Green Spaces

Face coverings

Where possible you should wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example, on public transport or in some shops. Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.

Image by Anastasiia Chepinska

Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough and/or high temperature), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings, like those exposed to dust hazards.

Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 2 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. For example, primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions. It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and after taking them off. Links to further guidance can be found on the Further Information page of this website.


Owners and operators are advised to implement cleaning protocols to limit coronavirus transmission in public places. It is advised that touch points (e.g. handrails and gates) should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.

Links to further guidance can be found on the Further Information page of this website.

Hygiene – hand washing

To help everyone maintain good hygiene, consideration should be given to:

  • sufficient provision of automated hand sanitising dispensers in public places

  • where possible, providing hand towels as an alternative to hand dryers in handwashing facilities.

  • using signs and messages to build awareness of good handwashing technique and other respiratory hygiene behaviours, e.g. around coughing and sneezing in public places

  • configuration of toilet facilities to ensure they are kept clean, with social distancing achieved as far as possible and with best practice handwashing followed

  • provision of more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection in public places

  • minimising use of portable toilets

  • enhanced cleaning for facilities that are heavily used