Updated 14/07/2020 – Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock spoke today about plans to make face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets as from 24 July 2020.
He outlined that in recent weeks, retail has reopened, and footfall is rising. It is the intention to give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shop therefore both of these can be done using face coverings.
It was mentioned that Sadly, sales assistants, cashiers and security guards have suffered disproportionately in this crisis. The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher among men, and 60% higher among women than in the general population.
The British Retail Consortium has said that together with other social distancing measures, face coverings can make shoppers feel even more confident about returning to the high street. And the Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses has said that small firms know that mandatory face coverings have a part to play, and I quote, “in the nation’s recovery both physically and financially”… And that he is “sure this [measure] will be welcomed”.
The government has therefore come to the decision that face coverings should be mandatory in shops and supermarkets. Under the new rules, people who do not wear a face covering will face a fine of up to £100, in line with the sanction on public transport and just as with public transport, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.
The liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual. Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply, the police have the formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine.
It was also reiterated that wearing a face covering does not mean that we can ignore the other measures that have been so important in slowing the spread of this virus such as washing hands and following the rules on social distancing.
To see the full government announcement see: