Key points

  1. The purpose of this document is to foster an informed public conversation about what should be government policy on face masks.
  2. Scientific evidence on wearing face coverings to reduce spread of COVID-19 continues to accumulate and policies should reflect this. Recent studies point to face coverings playing a useful role in the reduction of COVID-19 spread when worn properly in public indoor spaces.
  3. Face coverings should be used alongside, not instead of, other protective measures such as improving ventilation, adoption of rigorous hand cleansing regimens, and social distancing.
  4. Most but not all members of Independent SAGE believe that there is sufficient justification for making wearing of appropriate face coverings compulsory in specified enclosed public indoor spaces such as on public transport, in shops and in entertainment venues. Additional measures are required to realise the benefit and minimise the adverse unintended consequences. Legislation should be for light-touch enforcement as in Scotland.
  5. The policy should be accompanied by a comprehensive public information campaign about how face coverings can provide a benefit, what kinds of coverings to use, as well as how they should be worn, stored, and disposed of or cleaned.

Equity and engagement should be central when considering this issue.

Read our consultation document in full here