Face masks have been a controversial topic ever since the beginning of the pandemic as experts debated whether they should be worn. But as the scie
Face masks have been a controversial topic ever since the beginning of the pandemic as experts debated whether they should be worn. But as the science progresses and it’s found that they offer protection, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that they will be mandatory in shops from next week. They were previously only compulsory on public transport in England.
The Prime Minister said it will be the police’s job to enforce the rules around the country.
However, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has said it will only intervene as a “last resort”.
Martin Hewitt, chair of the NPCC, said on Tuesday: “While we were unaware that the announcement was to be made last night, we have the time to work closely with the Home Office, retailers and trade bodies on the implementation of new regulations on the wearing of face coverings in shops, which are due to come into effect on July 24.
“We will expect retailers to manage entry to their stores and compliance with the law while customers are inside, with police involvement as a last resort.”
However, others are worried that it should not be the responsibility of shop staff to enforce the law.
The chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Helen Dickinson commented: “Retailers have made the safety of staff and customers their top priority and we support measures aimed at protecting the health of the public.
“While retailers will play their part in communicating the new rules on face coverings, they must not be the ones enforcing these rules.
“With hundreds of incidents of violence and abuse directed at retail staff every day, we welcome the announcement that enforcement will be left to the authorities, rather than potentially putting hardworking retail colleagues in harm’s way.
“We look forward to further clarity over whether the wearing of face coverings will apply to shop staff.
“If so, there must be flexibility for colleagues who are in stores all day and can already benefit from other safety measures such as protective screens and 2m distancing.
“Retailers have already spent hundreds of millions installing perspex screens, implementing social distancing measures and providing additional cleaning in stores; we hope this announcement will make shoppers feel even more confident about returning to the high street.”