Face mask law comes into force for shoppers in England

Friday, July 24, 2020

People in England will be required by law to wear face masks in shops, supermarkets and other enclosed public spaces from today.

Those who fail to cover their faces in shops, shopping centres, banks, takeaway outlets, post offices, sandwich shops and supermarkets could face a £100 fine.

However, some high street chains said they will not penalise customers who flout the rules and the College of Policing has said officers “should only be required as a last resort”.

Challenged on the enforcement of the new legislation, Care Minister Helen Whately said the government had “every confidence” that people would comply because it is “the right thing to do.”

Speaking with talkRADIO’s Alastair Stewart, the Conservative MP said: “You can always find exceptions where people haven’t followed the rules but what we have seen throughout this is actually the vast majority of people taking the right measures and taking precautions.”

Costa Coffee said it would “not be challenging customers” who are not wearing a mask because some may have a legitimate exemption, such as a breathing condition.

Sainsbury’s said it will ask customers to continue “playing their part” by following the rules, but said its staff will not be responsible for enforcing them.

Asda will “strongly encourage customers to wear a face covering”, but added: “It is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to police and enforce the new rules.”

Tesco will be selling face coverings at the entrance and Waitrose said staff would be at the entrance to stores reminding customers of the requirement.

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