Can I be fined for not wearing a face mask in shops and takeaways?
FACE masks have been compulsory in shops and takeaways since July.
Anyone who refuses to wear one could see customers forced to fork out over £100 with staff told to report those without one to the police.
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People now have to wear face masks while in any shop[/caption]
On July 23, Britain’s most senior police officer said she hoped fines would be a “last resort,” but that people should still wear them.
Most people have been wearing them since then without too much hassle, but the government has been determined to clamp down on the few who refuse.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick explained she would prefer for shoppers to be “shamed” into wearing them.
She added the police will only get involved if shoppers without a mask refuse to leave the store or become “aggressive”.
Thames Valley and Devon and Cornwall forces have also said officers will only attend such incidents if they turn violent.
Shops are not planning to challenge people going in without them, and will instead use signs and posters to encourage visitors to stay safe.
The rules mean:
- Brits must wear a mask in all shops, including malls and indoor markets
- It is compulsory to use a face covering when collecting takeaway food or drink- including coffee
- Masks are not required if having a sit down meal or in any scenario with table service
- Police can hit those not wearing them with a £100 to £3,200 fine
- Shoppers can also be turned away at tills if they are not wearing a mask.
- The rule also applies to services like lawyers, hairdressers, banks and beauty technicians
- You also have to wear one when visiting entertainment venues like museums and cinemas
- You do not have to wear one if you are exempt
On July 24 the Prime Minister’s spokesman backed Brits to follow the guidance.
He said: “What I am sure we will find as we have with other aspects of the coronavirus response is that the British public will voluntarily choose to follow the guidelines because they want to play their part in helping to slow the spread of the virus.
“Shops I think we would expect them to give advice to customers and to remind them they should be wearing a face covering, I am sure that the overwhelming majority of the public will do so.”
People visiting McDonald’s would have to wear a mask while ordering at the counter for a takeaway[/caption]
Most shop staff will be recommended to wear masks, but it will not be compulsory.
Masks must also be worn when getting takeaway food or drink, but not when sitting down to enjoy them.
A Department of Health spokesman explained: “From Friday, July 24, it will be mandatory to wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets, as is currently the case on public transport.
“If a shop or supermarket has a cafe or a seating area to eat and drink, you can remove your face covering in that area.”
It brings England into line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where face coverings were already mandatory in shops.
Takeaways with seating inside will be counted as shops, where masks will become compulsory[/caption]
The Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis confirmed masks were required for a takeaway.
He said: “Obviously if you’re in a food outlet it’s not practical to wear a face mask.
“What changes from tomorrow [July 24] is if you’re in a retail environment, if you’re in a shop or a supermarket, you should be wearing a face mask.
“If you’re going into Pret a Manger and you are eating in Pret a Manger, which in some of their stores you can, then obviously you wouldn’t be wearing a face mask because you’re eating.
“But it’s clear, good common sense that if you’re going in to buy a takeaway, and leaving again, you’re treating it like a shop – and you should be wearing a face mask.”
The Association of Convenience Stores have warned shops not to challenge customers not wearing masks after lockdown violence against retail workers soared by 40 per cent.
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