Coronavirus: face covers in English stores will be mandatory from July 24

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Reuters

The wearing of a face cover in stores and supermarkets in England will become compulsory from 24 July.

Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £ 100, the government announced.

This decision will bring England closer to Scotland and other major European countries such as Spain, Italy and Germany.

Since mid-May, the public has been advised to wear coverings in closed public spaces, where they can meet people they would not usually meet.

It has been mandatory in public transport since June 15.

The announcement follows a confusion over the government’s intentions in recent days, a senior minister suggesting Sunday that people should use their “common sense” rather than be forced to cover up.

The Labor party said the ministers’ response was “slow and confused” and asked why the new rules would not come into force for 11 days.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to release the new face cover guidelines on Tuesday. They are designed to minimize the spread of the coronavirus and also encourage people to return to stores safely.

Sanctions

The rules will be enforced by the police, anyone who violates them will face a fine of up to £ 100. This will be reduced to £ 50 if people pay within 14 days.

Although store employees are encouraged to encourage customers to comply, they will not be expected to follow the rules, quieting unions about their involvement.

In accordance with the rules on public transport, children under the age of 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

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Reuters

Legend

Face covers have been compulsory over a large part of the continent for several months


In Scotland, the use of coatings in shops has been compulsory since 10 July. Buyers from Wales and Northern Ireland are currently not required to wear them, although both countries have said this will remain under consideration.

Boris Johnson reported a change in government stance on Friday when he spoke of the need for a stricter approach in confined environments and was photographed wearing a mask at a store in his riding of Uxbridge.

But in an interview with the BBC on Sunday, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove downplayed any immediate legal changes, saying he thought it should only be a matter of “courtesy and good manners.”

When asked if it should be made mandatory, he replied, “I don’t think so.”

“Slow and confused”

The Labor Party said the mixed messages were symptomatic of the government’s indecision during the pandemic and that the ministers had to explain the “new delay”.

“The government has again been slow and muddled,” said ghost health secretary Jonathan Ashworth.

“Given the government’s own advice on face masks released on May 11, many will ask why ministers have yet to make a decision on this pandemic again, and why it will take another 11 days for these new guidelines to come out. are coming. in force. “

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Media captionWhat Michael Gove said Sunday on the issue

A spokesperson for # 10 said, “It is becoming increasingly apparent that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space helps protect people and those around them from coronavirus.

“The Prime Minister has made it clear that people should wear face covers in stores and we will make this compulsory from July 24. ”

Unions have said the new guidelines must be “clear and detailed” to protect staff and clients.

While appreciating the clarity of the question, Usdaw said that linings cannot replace proper hygiene controls and that people continue to follow social distancing guidelines.

The British Retail Consortium has stated that it would have been wrong to endanger staff who are already working and who are already abused by asking them to apply the rules and that clarification is needed as to whether they should they also cover themselves.

Face covers are compulsory in stores in Germany since the end of April and in Italy since May 4. Similar rules came into force in Spain on May 21 and in Belgium on July 11.

But they are not mandatory in France, where it is up to retailers to decide whether customers should wear them.

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