Sunday 8/9/20
CORONAVIRUS

Mask-wearing to be compulsory in shops in England

Those who flout the rules will face a fine of up to 100 pounds (110 euros).

A woman wearing a face mask walks in front of closed shops at a deserted street in Leicester. Photo: Joe Giddens/dpa.
A woman wearing a face mask walks in front of closed shops at a deserted street in Leicester. Photo: Joe Giddens/dpa.

Britain's government will make mask-wearing in shops in England compulsory in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus as the country reopens, local media reported late Monday.

It will be mandatory to wear face coverings in stores from July 24, British media including Sky News and the Press Association reported, citing a government spokesperson.

Those who flout the rules will face a fine of up to 100 pounds (110 euros).

Health Minister Matt Hancock is due to give a full statement on the new rules on Tuesday.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson had indicated on Friday a more comprehensive policy on mask-wearing in public was coming.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wears a face mask, during a visit to the headquarters of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Photo: Ben Stansall/PA Wire/dpa

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wearing a face mask. Photo: Ben Stansall/dpa.

So far, the English public have only been required to wear face coverings on public transport.

The government in London has long been reluctant to expand mask-wearing requirements to shops and other enclosed spaces.

Supply to hospitals

There are fears that high public demand for protective gear will impact the supply to hospitals and care facilities.

There have also been warnings that masks could give a false sense of security to the public, or even be counterproductive as wearers might end up touching their faces more frequently while making adjustments.

In Scotland, it is already compulsory to wear masks in shops. Along with Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland has been making its own decisions on such measures.

With more than 46,500 officially recorded coronavirus deaths, Britain is the worst-affected country in Europe.

Its leaders have been accused of failures to tackle the pandemic and of taking action too late.

Comments