The move came just over a week since the government said it would not require masks in court buildings, face covering becoming mandatory from 24 July in enclosed public spaces including supermarkets, banks and post offices.
In the guidance, Acland-Hood said individuals may be asked to temporarily remove their face covering for identification purposes. Courtrooms themselves will be covered by previous guidance which does not require face coverings: when people are speaking or presenting evidence in the courtroom, masks may be removed, and judges and magistrates may ask for them to be removed. Anyone speaking without a face covering must strictly observe two-metre social distancing rules.
Court users are asked to bring their own face covering, but can ask court staff if they do not have one.
Exemptions are made for those with a disability or health issue that makes wearing a mask difficult, those for whom wearing one will cause severe distress, where a deaf person needs to read an individual’s lips, and for eating, drinking or taking medicine.