Knowing that mandatory face masks were on the way, I tried one on in an early morning supermarket. It wasn’t the best, I have to say, and it steamed my glasses up, but it was bearable. If it makes people feel safer, then at’s fine by me. I also offered to wear one in a small shop recently where the assistant accepted my offer. Views are mixed. Some people feel they should not be mandatory, some feel it is rather late in the day, and others feel it is a wise precaution. Now, the ruling is official.
The Government today explained that the death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher among men, and 60% higher among women than in the general population.
There is also evidence that face coverings increase confidence in people to shop, thereby aiding the economy.
The British Retail Consortium has said that together with other social distancing measures, face coverings can make shoppers feel more confident about returning to the high street.
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.
We asked earlier on Facebook about people’s views on face covering in Bude.Here is a selection of responses:
Jo: I’ve been wearing a mask if I’ve needed to go to shops or into a building. Now everyone will have to will actually make me happier to go out to the bigger shops and supermarkets rather than avoiding them. I’m happy to wear a mask. Everything I’ve read speaks of the benefits. Why wouldn’t you?
Tracey: I’m a healthcare assistant and wear a mask at work. I currently don’t wear a mask outside of work but as government guidance is changing and mask wearing is becoming compulsory, I’ll be following the new rules.
Steven: No Problem – If it Saves just one other person or yourself from becoming infected then it must be worthwhile surely.
Shona: I have asthma so struggling with them but regardless of that I’ve worn them.
Linda: Yep, I’ve been wearing a mask in the supermarket for months now, noticed less people doing it than before so glad that it will be mandatory – we will all be protecting each other.
Gill: I’m a shielders, so haven’t been out anywhere yet, but when I do emerge I will feel much happier if everyone is wearing a face covering.
Johannah: I think we need to be upbeat and see it as a positive – as a shop owner, the visitors to Coast and Country have been brilliant and I am sure this will continue, Cornwall relies on tourism.
Chris: I would rather wear a mask when required than be dead forever.
Have some questions/concerns:
Karen: I’m exempt because of asthma but, if I do put one on, my glasses steam up! My deaf friend is struggling as she relies on lip reading. MOST people don’t wear them correctly and fiddle with them far too much hence increasing the risk! If everyone was observing proper social distancing it wouldn’t be necessary!
To those who say you should wear them to pubs and restaurants: really? You go to eat and drink…. think about it!
Michael: If it had been safe for the last 16 weeks to not wear a mask why in 10 days time will it be obligatory? Case of stable door and horses, methinks. Since deaths and number of COVID-19 cases is falling, why now? Muddled thinking by those in charge. And what happens if COPD and Asthma sufferers are exempt are challenged by Shops and / or Police? Nightmare.
Paul: I have no objection to wearing a mask in a shop but I question the idea of making it compulsory when it is impossible to enforce unless you have a Policeman in every shop. You can’t expect shop staff to enforce it because there are plenty of idiots about who will kick off if confronted
Gill: You realise how much you look at eyes and mouth when talking to someone…very strange when wearing a mask!
But if it’s got to be done…
Kay: Feel for school staff who will be in contact with far more people in a day than someone when shopping who can’t wear a mask
Andre: I’m so looking forward to dealing with people getting stroppy about having to wear one in the shop; hard enough getting people to adhere to the one way system throughout or even using hand sanitiser.
A few mask tips:
Rowena: We’ve been wearing face-coverings in confined areas since the initial outbreak – because it’s a simple precaution which could contribute to reducing transmission.
My Top Tip is to find someone who makes a mask with elastic around the whole head, rather than over the ears. The ear ones are notoriously tricky to get to fit right (‘one size fits no-one’). And you should NOT fiddle with the thing once it’s on! Don’t be touching the front of the mask – which you’ve breathed on – and then touch items in a shop…
Once you’ve found a style that suits you, get several before they sell out!
If you wear specs; try cleaning them with a dilute solution of washing-up liquid before wearing a mask. They’ll mist up less.
WASH YOUR MASK! We have three or four each, and they go into the machine with any old wash.
If you’ve only worn it briefly and it doesn’t warrant a wash, leave it in full sunlight, ‘inside out’ for a whole afternoon. On a windowsill or a car dashboard. The UV will sterilise it pretty well.
In a pinch, a snood makes a decent face-covering – fold it over a couple of times, and you can add a sheet of kitchen towel in between the layers of cloth for extra protection.
No need to wear your mask when you are outdoors and away from people. But if you’re popping in and out of several shops then it’s better to keep it on than continually on/off faffing. The aim is to restrict the spread of any viral particles…