A woman, wearing a protective facemask. July 4, 2020, (AFP)
Face masks will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets across England as of Friday, individuals will have to cover their mouths and noses when entering sandwich shops or takeaways according to the governmentís guidance.
Face coverings, as confirmed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), will be required in shops and takeaways if people intend to take their food and coffee away in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The DHSC, however, stipulated that, should customers be able to sit down and consume food or drink they have purchased, the face covering can be removed to eat or drink on site.
Face coverings will be mandatory for shops and supermarkets, banks, building societies and post offices. However, they will not be required in places such as restaurants and pubs, hairdressers, gyms, leisure centres, cinemas, concert halls and theatres.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health announced: "From Friday 24 July, 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."
Much confusion, brought about by lack of clarity displayed by the government, remains over whether face masks must be worn in sandwich shops and takeaways.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, announced on 14 July that wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets will be compulsory from Friday, July 24, with the police enforcing the rule and anyone failing to comply facing a fine of up to £100.
However, the prime ministerís official spokesman later said sandwich shops were exempt.
Mr Hancock said last week: "You do need to wear a face mask in Pret because Pret is a shop. If thereís table service, it is not necessary to have a mask. But in any shop, you do need a mask. So if youíre going up to the counter in Pret to buy takeaway, that is a shop."
But the prime ministerís official spokesman later said: "We will be publishing the full guidance shortly but my understanding is that it wouldnít be mandatory if you went in, for example, to a sandwich shop in order to get a takeaway to wear a face covering.
"It is mandatory... we are talking about supermarkets and other shops rather than food shops."
The regulations were published on Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours before they come into effect.
The public have been advised to wash their hands before putting on a covering or mask or taking it off, and to avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth while wearing one.
Face coverings should be stored in a plastic bag until they can be washed or disposed of, the Department of Health said.
Those with certain disabilities will be exempt from having to wear a mask.
Packs of face coverings will be available for purchase near the front of Tesco stores for anyone who has forgotten to bring one. It is understood that customers will be able to open them and add to their basket to purchase later.
Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the British Retail Consortium, said: "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."
A spokeswoman for Sainsburyís said: "The British Retail Consortium has explained that retail colleagues are not expected to enforce the new rules.
"The guidance we have shared with our colleagues reflects that."
Earlier this month, national police leaders said forces were "unaware" of the impending announcement that face masks would be made mandatory in shops.
On Wednesday, Britainís most senior police officer, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, said she hoped shoppers who refuse to wear masks will be "shamed" into compliance and told LBC that calling the police over someone failing to wear a face covering should only be "a last resort".
The Police and Crime Commissioners for Devon and Cornwall and Thames Valley have said officers will not attend incidents where shoppers refuse to wear masks, unless they turn violent.
In Scotland, face coverings are already mandatory in shops.
Passengers have been required to wear face coverings on public transport in England since last month.
SOURCE: PRESS TV