The new mask mandate for shops and public transport can’t be left to retail to enforce, one of Britain’s top supermarket bosses warned.
From tomorrow, police will be given the power to issue people fines of between £200 and £6,400 if face coverings aren’t used on trains, buses and tubes and in shops, banks and post offices.
However, the new rules, stated by Boris Johnson, don’t apply to indoor entertainment settings, such as pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas.
It’s not known what led ministers to take the decision but it’s thought they didn’t want to impact the hospitality trade, which has experienced enormous economic losses during the pandemic, while scientists said masks in pubs would just not be feasible.
Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland, said his workers on the shop floor could not be asked to intervene when they recognise a rule breaker.
He told a newspaper outlet that they completely support the reintroduction of compulsory face masks in stores, however, they won’t be asking their store co-workers to patrol it, and he said that their store teams, alongside all retail workers, have shown valiant efforts in terms of ensuring safety for customers and building back consumer confidence and it’s important that they stay focused on the long term recovery of the high street.
He said that they need to continue to encourage people to shop in stores if they feel comfortable, and he was confident that the latest guidelines wouldn’t deter customers from doing so.
The British Retail Consortium said it’s up to the police to support the measure, adding that customers are asked to respect the rules and be thoughtful to their fellow shoppers and too hard-working shop workers.
The Co-op chain said that throughout the pandemic, they supported their customers wearing a face covering when shopping in their stores, but it wasn’t their job to implement face coverings or to refuse to serve a customer who decides not to wear one.
The Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said that they’re helping retailers to prepare for the change in face-covering rules, but they’re very concerned about abuse against their staff from customers who don’t want to wear a face covering, and he said that they urge all customers to be considerate towards shop workers during this time and to remember that they don’t set the policy, they’re just doing their job by communicating it.
Those that work in retail shouldn’t have to challenge anyone who isn’t wearing a mask because it’s certainly not worth them opening up to abuse, there was enough of that last time – retailers are not law enforcement.
This is two years down the line and there’s no change. What will it be? Five years down the line and there still won’t be any change, and is this the way that we have to live our lives now? What a terrible thought, and by complying, you give permission for the state to do it and go further.
The scientists, opinion pollsters and the media won’t stop there, they’ll demand you wear a mask in more and more places until you’re wearing one in your home, and the only thing that the elites were being honest about was when they said that this was the new normal, and don’t worry, there will always be plenty of self-righteous, gobby staff who will only be too pleased to treat their customers like dirt on their shoes.
So much for Boris Johnson’s irreversible roadmap, but then he clearly just says whatever is convenient at any given moment.