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Friday, 24 July 2020

Sainsbury's, Asda and Costa Coffee say they WON'T enforce facemasks rules as new law comes in requiring everyone to wear face coverings in all shops from TODAY

Sainsbury's, Asda and Costa Coffee have said they will not police new coronavirus laws which force customers to wear face masks in all shops from today.
The major retailers say they have no intention of enforcing new rules which will punish people who refuse to cover their faces with a £100 fine.
Government guidance published yesterday states that masks must be worn in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres across England.
Britons must also wear masks in banks, takeaway outlets, post offices and sandwich shops - including when buying food and drink to take out from cafes.  
With police unwilling to enforce the new laws, though, the Government has asked retailers to 'take reasonable steps to encourage customers to follow the law, including through signs and providing other information in store'.
Government guidance published yesterday states that masks must be worn in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres across England. Britons must also wear masks in banks, takeaway outlets, post offices and sandwich shops - including when buying food and drink to take out from cafes (pictured, Boris Johnson during a visit to Orkney Cheese in Kirkwall)
Government guidance published yesterday states that masks must be worn in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres across England. Britons must also wear masks in banks, takeaway outlets, post offices and sandwich shops - including when buying food and drink to take out from cafes (pictured, Boris Johnson during a visit to Orkney Cheese in Kirkwall)
Asda claimed that 'it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to police and enforce the new rules', but said it will 'strongly encourage customers' to wear masks
Asda claimed that 'it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to police and enforce the new rules', but said it will 'strongly encourage customers' to wear masks
Sainsbury's said 'our colleagues will not be responsible for enforcing' the new rules, though it is asking everyone to continue 'playing their part' (pictured, store in Plymouth, March 19)
Sainsbury's said 'our colleagues will not be responsible for enforcing' the new rules, though it is asking everyone to continue 'playing their part' (pictured, store in Plymouth, March 19)

Several retailers told The Daily Telegraph that they had no intention of forcing people to wear face coverings if they enter their premises unmasked. 
Sainsbury's said 'our colleagues will not be responsible for enforcing' the new rules, though it is asking everyone to continue 'playing their part'.
Asda claimed that 'it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to police and enforce the new rules', but said it will 'strongly encourage customers' to wear masks.
Costa Coffee has also said that it will 'not be challenging customers who enter our stores without a mask since they may have a legitimate reason' not to - which include for disabilities and if wearing a covering may cause 'severe distress'.
Paul Gerrard, director of public affairs at Co-op Food, told The Telegraph that it is not the job of shop workers to enforce the rules, adding: 'It's the police's job'.
And the Association of Convenience Stores said: 'We have advised members not to challenge customers unwilling to wear a covering.' 
Wearing a mask will be compulsory in all shops, stations, banks and post offices from today. Detailed regulations published last night revealed that the new rules go beyond just shops and also require people to cover their faces in all 'transport hubs', shopping centres and petrol stations. 
Even customers entering banks - where face coverings are normally discouraged – will be required to don a mask. Failure to comply could result in a £100 spot fine, although police forces have indicated they will only respond as a 'last resort'.
Only young children and people with medical conditions affected by a mask are exempt. A face covering can only be removed in a shop for a small number of reasons, such as allowing staff to check someone's identity or age or to communicate with a deaf lip reader. 
Shop staff do not have to wear coverings but it is 'strongly recommended' that employers ask them to do so unless other precautions such as screens are in place. 
The new rules are contentious, with some people finding masks uncomfortable and some libertarians complaining they are being 'muzzled' by the state. But opinion polls suggest the majority support the change, which will bring England into line with many countries around the world, including France, Germany and Spain. 
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the move was essential for preventing a second wave of coronavirus while continuing to open up the economy. 
Today's move completes a U-turn by the Government which initially said masks were ineffective in halting the spread of the virus. 
Masks have been compulsory on public transport since July 15 after evolving scientific advice suggested they could help stop Covid sufferers without symptoms from spreading the disease. 

The new guidance states face coverings will be required in takeaway sandwich shops like Pret a Manger. 
Customers who queue for a sandwich can take off their mask to eat it if they find a seat, although Government sources said the practice should be discouraged. 
Entertainment venues and services are not covered by the new rules which state pubs and restaurants will be exempt, as will hairdressers, gyms, leisure centres, cinemas and museums. 
The PM's spokesman said: 'You've seen over recent months the British public have voluntarily chosen to follow the guidance because they want to help slow the spread of the virus and I'm sure that will be the case with face coverings as well.' 
However, TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: 'Verbal and physical abuse [of staff] rose during the pandemic, and the new rules requiring shoppers to wear masks may further risk staff safety.'
Meanwhile ministers are facing accusations that the new rules are muddled, inconsistent and illogical, with face masks not necessary in pubs, restaurants and cinemas, but mandatory in shops, takeaway shops and shopping centres. 
David Strain of the University of Essex said there was 'no logic to the exclusion of theatres and cinemas' as social distancing could not be enforced, adding: 'Similarly there is no reason why shopkeepers or supermarket staff should be exempt'. 
Chaand Nagpaul, head of the British Medical Association, told The Times: 'While today's guidance is in some ways helpful, the uncertainty of recent weeks has done nothing to inspire public confidence.
'Meanwhile, if venues such as theatres, museums and salons are not subject to these rules, there must be an absolute assurance that they can protect the public by enforcing physical distancing or putting other mitigating measures in place.'
And Jon Richards of the Unison union said: 'Government guidance has been confusing from the beginning.
'The UK was late to the table on face coverings and now people don't know what they should do. 
'There are rules for shops and public transport, but not for other enclosed spaces such as libraries, register offices and civic centres. The public needs clarity to end the muddle.' 
Yesterday Met chief Dame Cressida Dick said her officers will not respond to calls about shoppers refusing to wear face coverings unless it is a 'last resort'.
 Dame Cressida said she hoped shoppers will instead be 'shamed' into wearing face masks in stores ahead of new rules making the wearing of face masks mandatory in shops in England. 
Speaking to LBC, Dame Cressida urged shoppers to wear a mask, but said if shop keepers are concerned and 'have tried everything else', her officers will try to assist.  
Cressida Dick: 'Calling the police should be a last resort'
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Dame Cressida said she hoped shoppers will instead be 'shamed' into wearing face masks in stores. Pictured: A shopper wears a face mask in Glasgow, Scotland, where masks have already been made mandatory in stores
Dame Cressida said she hoped shoppers will instead be 'shamed' into wearing face masks in stores. Pictured: A shopper wears a face mask in Glasgow, Scotland, where masks have already been made mandatory in stores
The head of the Metropolitan Police, Dame Cressida Dick, has said her officers will not respond to calls about shoppers refusing to wear face masks unless it is a 'last resort'
The head of the Metropolitan Police, Dame Cressida Dick, has said her officers will not respond to calls about shoppers refusing to wear face masks unless it is a 'last resort'

'Calling the police should be a last resort for dealing with a mask issue. But of course the law is the law,' she said.
'My hope is that the vast majority of people will comply, and that people who are not complying will be shamed into complying or shamed to leave the store by the store keepers or by other members of the public.
'If somebody is concerned about what is going on in their store, yes, of course they should call the police and we will try to assist.'
Dame Cressida said that supermarkets have managed to maintain social distancing and queuing themselves, only rarely needing to call the police.
She added: 'During the beginning of lockdown the larger stores that were opening, the supermarkets and things were open, some of them brought in security guards, but they have been able to maintain the social distancing and the sensible queuing.
'We patrol around and speak to shops, but they've only called us rarely to assist, and that is what I hope would happen on this occasion.'
Dame Cressida's comments come as Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week urged shops to call the police if people refuse to wear face masks from July 24 - despite top officers warning the rules are 'impossible' to enforce. 
Speaking about the rules, which have already been introduced in Scotland, he told MPs: '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 formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine.' 

After the plans were announced, businesses called the plan 'utterly ludicrous' and police said it was ridiculous to expect them to hand out £100 fines to everyone who broke the law in England.   
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said compulsory masks and the levying of £100 fines was 'impossible to enforce', adding: 'We can't have police outside every shop'. 
He said: 'Shopkeepers need to step up to the plate and take some responsibility.
'They can quite easily put signs up on their doors 'No mask on, no entry, this is private property'.
'That's the first point we need to get across because this cannot all be laid on the shoulders of the police yet again.
'The second point is it will be nigh-on impossible for enforcement because you won't have a police officer on every shop door because there isn't enough of us.
'If a shopkeeper calls the police because someone hasn't got a mask on, they haven't got the power to detain them so that person can just walk away.
'We'll be driving around and around London looking for people who aren't wearing masks, it's absolutely absurd. 
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan - a strong supporter of face masks - revealed that since lockdown began to be eased more than a month ago just 59 people have been fined for not wearing masks on the Tube and admitted that the delay in making them compulsory has only caused more confusion in the UK.
Under the rules, which were announced earlier this month, face masks will not be compulsory for shop staff, or in pubs and restaurants, and he defended the delays to introducing the measure.
George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, previously told the BBC that ministers want to 'give people time to plan and prepare' by delaying the enforcement of the measure until July 24.
The Cabinet minister said the measure, which had been in place in Scotland since July 10, was now backed by the Westminster Government because the evidence 'has been evolving'. 
George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, previously told the BBC that ministers want to 'give people time to plan and prepare' by delaying the enforcement of the measure until July 24.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said compulsory masks and the levying of £100 fines was 'impossible to enforce'.
George Eustice (pictured left), Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, previously told the BBC that ministers want to 'give people time to plan and prepare' by delaying the enforcement of the measure until July 24. Ken Marsh (pictured right), chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said compulsory masks and the levying of £100 fines was 'impossible to enforce'

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