UK High Street stores refuse to enforce mask rule

High street stores Pic:Twitter

THE new face mask rule in the UK comes into force today, that says you must wear a mask in shops, shopping centres, supermarkets, and take away restaurants.

But with the police saying they are unwilling to spend their time fining law breakers due to the sheer numbers of people either refusing to wear them or wearing them incorrectly, the government have asked retailers to take reasonable steps to ensure that the public are encouraged to follow the protocols with in store signage, and reporting offenders to the police.

Several retailers told the Daily Telegraph that they had no intention of forcing people to wear face coverings if they enter their premises unmasked.

Sainsbury’s said ‘our colleagues will not be responsible for enforcing’ the new rules, though it is asking everyone to continue ‘playing their part.’

Asda claimed that ‘it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to police and enforce the new rules,’ but said it will ‘strongly encourage customers’ to wear masks.

Costa Coffee has also said that it will ‘not be challenging customers who enter our stores without a mask since they may have a legitimate reason’ not to – which includes for disabilities and if wearing a covering may cause ‘severe distress.’

Paul Gerrard, director of public affairs at Co-op Food, said: “ it is not the job of shop workers to enforce the rules,” adding: “It’s the police’s job.”

And the Association of Convenience Stores said: “We have advised members not to challenge customers unwilling to wear a covering.”

Places not covered by the new rules which state pubs and restaurants will be exempt, as will hairdressers, gyms, leisure centres, cinemas and museums.

As yet shop employees do not have to wear face coverings, but the employers have been. The new mandate has completed the U-turn by the government which initially said masks were ineffective in halting the spread of the virus.

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Written by

Mark T Connor

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