‘Everyone is accepting the rules’ - shoppers adhere to new face mask laws
- Credit: Archant
Shop owners in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge have been politely reminding customers to mask up today as new rules on wearing face coverings came into force.
Suffolk shopkeepers said the overwhelming majority of customers were obeying the guidance on the first day they came into effect.
However, some voiced concerns that the additional requirement may put some people off shopping at a time when many stores are looking to recover from the Covid-19 crisis.
Jill Barrett, owner of department store Barretts of Woodbridge, said only one customer visited her store on Friday without a mask.
She said: “We have spare disposable masks, so if anyone does come and is not wearing one we won’t be enforcing the rule.
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“Fortunately, our customers can also socially distance in the store as we have the space.”
She added: “Everyone is accepting the rule. We were worried it might put people off shopping, but we are getting used to it.”
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Sarah Cole, of The Jewellery Studio in Framlingham, said: “Everyone so far today has been wearing masks.
“I do have disposable masks, as I wouldn’t let people in without one.”
She too admitted she had feared it may put shoppers off and said: “I am worried it might put some people off visiting.”
Cathy Frost, who manages gift store Loveone in Ipswich, said she would make a judgement on a “case by case” basis if a customer visited without a covering, as there are exemptions to the rules.
She said: “We had one person in today without a mask, but I asked her politely to put one on.
“If someone came in and had genuinely forgotten a mask, we would offer them one.
“But if someone was refusing we would have a judgement call to make. I don’t want to challenge people if they have a medical condition.
“We built our reputation on being friendly and welcoming - we don’t want to ruin that.”
Failure to comply with the rules can result in a fine of up to £100, but children under 11, those who are supporting someone who lip reads, and those who are unable to for health reasons are exempt.