From Friday 24 July 2020, it will become mandatory for customers to wear face coverings when visiting shops in England. Failure to comply can result in a £100 fine, unless the individual is unable to wear a face covering, for example young children or those with underlying health conditions.
It is the customer’s responsibility to wear a face covering. While retailers will work to encourage and support the new regulations, the Government has made it clear that the role of enforcement will remain with the police.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has criticised the Government’s delay in publishing the regulations and the more detailed guidance that it says retailers had been told to expect. The BRC has stressed that this is now very urgently needed so that all necessary preparations can be made.
Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the BRC, said: “Retailers are doing all they can to support necessary safety regulations and will play their role in communicating and encouraging the Government’s new policy on face coverings.
“While enforcement of this policy will be handled by the police, the ultimate responsibility remains with customers who must ensure that they wear a face covering when going into stores. Our shopping experience is changing, and we ask customers to be respectful and considerate when the new rules come into force tomorrow.”
“The regulations and more detailed guidance that the Government has told us to expect is now overdue. Every passing hour limits the time that retailers have to implement the new guidance.
“Following media reports this morning, it is essential that cafes, takeaways and other fast food can allow customers to eat in, without the need for table service.”
“Government communications with the general public must be managed effectively to ensure everyone understands the reasons for these changes. It is vital that consumers are confident enough to return to their high streets, as demand remains low despite the lifting of lockdown. If sales and footfall fail to recover quickly, Government should urgently consider steps to boost demand or else we will see many more shop closures and subsequent job losses.”