From sanitising your hands before you enter to following a strict one-way system in stores, the way we shop has changed drastically post lockdown and the latest government announcement will see the compulsory wearing of face coverings in shops in supermarkets in England.
What do the new face covering rules mean?
Wearing a face mask or face covering has been advised to members of the public since May to help us safely interact with people we may not usually meet or in enclosed spaces where social distancing measures are difficult. With these new regulations in place, it will be compulsory to wear a face covering in all shops and supermarkets in England from July 24th.
Why have the rules on face masks changed?
It has been compulsory to wear a mask on England’s public transport services since June 15th and the DVSA has also published information on the mandatory wearing of face coverings when driving tests resume later in July. There are still some public places such as pubs and restaurants where wearing a face mask would not work but growing evidence suggests that face masks can help protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus.
Why is there a delay on face mask rules?
The announcement was made on July 13th, leaving 11 days before the rules come into force. While this has been thrown into question, the Environment Secretary stated that this delay was to give people time to prepare. People are considered responsible enough to start wearing a face covering of any kind before it is mandatory, but the extra time allows for everyone to make sure they have a suitable face covering or face mask to wear.
Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt and it is though that staff in retail stores will also not be forced to wear a mask but they may be expected to prompt customers to comply.
The government is set to announce a fine of up to £100 for those who do not follow the new rules.