Shops open for first day of ‘new normal’ as face covering rules come into action
PUBLISHED: 05:30 24 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:13 24 July 2020
Shops across Suffolk have opened for the first day under new laws which require face coverings and the public are being encouraged to play their part by sticking to the rules.
It means from now on shops and supermarkets are expected to comply with the law, but can refuse entry to people without a face covering and the police have powers to enforce the measures.
You can now be fined £100 for not wearing one, halved if you pay within 14 days, but there are a few exemptions for children under the age of 11, anyone with a disability or who qualifies under another exemption.
Gyms and leisure centres, restaurants and pubs, hairdressers and salons, cinemas, concert halls and theatres are exempt from the new rules.
David Collinson is lead for the Safer Places group by the Suffolk Resilience Forum, which is made up of Suffolk’s NHS, emergency and public services.
He said: “The safety of our communities is the most important thing as our high streets and businesses recover.
“Ultimately, businesses are responsible to ensure the safety of their staff and customers, but through the Safer Places group, we’re doing everything we can to support them and help reduce the risk of infection.
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“But people have a role too and it is vital they follow the face covering guidance that comes into force on Friday.
“By sticking with the guidance and helping each other to keep safe you will stop the spread of Covid-19 and help local businesses stay open, serving their communities.”
Staff in shops are also being asked to take care when enforcing the new rules and not make assumptions if someone is not wearing a face covering as they may have a hidden disability.
William Coe, the third generation of his family to run the flagship Ipswich store, said: “We accept face coverings being made mandatory in shops as anything that assists in minimising the spread of the virus and adding to people’s confidence to get back to normal should be supported.
“We do not expect any issues with compliance and would expect all customers to support the requirement.”
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP, said: “As we move into the next stage of easing restrictions for the public, it is vital we continue to shop safely so that we can make the most of our fantastic retail industry this summer.
“Everyone must play their part in fighting this virus by following this new guidance.
“I also want to thank the British public for all the sacrifices they are making to help keep this country safe.”
To find out if you are covered by an exemption, head to keepsafe.org.uk/mask for a full list and free carry card templates.
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