Make sure you cover up on trip to shops as Blackpool obeys rules on wearing face masks

A sea of face masks could be seen on the streets and in the shops of Blackpool yesterday after it became mandatory to wear them in shops and supermarkets across the country, as the new law comes into effect.

By James Graves
Friday, 24th July 2020, 4:48 pm
Updated Friday, 24th July 2020, 4:52 pm

The change in rules comes after face coverings were already made compulsory on public transport in England on 15 June, and marks a stricter approach from the UK government in tackling the spread of the virus.

However, residents and tourists in the resort were not phased by the rules as the vast majority masked up and respected the new law.

Sisters Storm Oresamya, 28, and Tara Wyles, 40, from Bispham, had come into the resort with Tara’s two-year-old daughter Lexi Wyles.

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Storm Oresanya with Tara Wyles and 2-year-old Lexi Wyles.

Storm said she has worn a mask since the shops reopened in June.

She said: “I think it’s better now everyone else wearing them as early on people would look at me as if I was strange wearing a face mask.”

Tara said: “I’ve been wearing masks for a while now and I think it should have been brought in much sooner to be honest.

“If it stops the virus from spreading I don’t understand how anyone would be against them.”

Alys Green and Corinne Shorrock from the Build-A-Bear Workshop in the Houndshill

Storm added that Lexi has been prompting family members to wear them as well.

She said: “She has been very proactive in getting people to put them on. Even though she doesn’t need to wear one because of her age I think it still makes sense and she has been happy to put it on each time.”

The Houndshill Shopping Centre was adopting the rules with workers situated at every entrance to remind people to put on a face mask and if they didn’t have one they could buy one for a pound.

One of the workers said that they are taking a non-confrontational approach to people who don’t want to wear a mask but said it was the retailers decision if they refused entry to anyone not following the rules.

Even though the masks don't need to be worn outside, people have still be wearing them

Corinne Shorrock, assitant manager at the Houndshill Build-A-Bear Workshop said it had been a quiet day in the store.

She said: “It has been very quiet compared with the last two days which were quite busy but everyone who has come in has been very respectful and followed the rules.

“It’s possibly because the weather is really nice today that it’s so quiet rather than people avoiding the shops because of having to wear face masks.”

Supermarkets across the Fylde coast were also asking people to put on masks before entering with Lancashire-based chain Booths reminding customers that they risk being refused entry if they do not have a face covering.

Shoppers have been respecting the new law which came into place today

The Preston-headquartered business said staff would “politely” remind customers to wear a face covering at store entrances from today.

CEO and chairman Edwin Booth said: “People are afraid of the virus. We understand that.

“We want to let them know that it is safe to shop at Booths.” Outside Morrisons supermarket in South Shore, Tony Butlet, 53, of Lytham Road, wasn’t happy to be wearing a mask.

He said: “I’m only wearing one because I have to. If they were really important why didn’t the Government make us all wear them months ago.

“I just think it’s stupid that now the figures are getting lower they make us wear face masks but when they were high we were alright to go into shops anyway.”

Some people are exempt from wearing face coverings in shops.

Government guidance states that you do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to do so.

This includes:

- young children under the age of 11.

- Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, or impairment, or disability.

- If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress.

- If you are travelling with, or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.

- To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others.

- To avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you.

- To eat or drink, but only if you need to.

- To take medication .

- If a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering.

It is also not compulsory for shop or supermarket staff to wear face coverings, although it is recommended where appropriate and where other mitigating measures are not in place, such as screens or visors.

These exemptions also apply to wearing masks on public transport.

All other members of the public who do not fall into any of these categories must comply with the rules.

Those who do not comply with the new measures could face fines of up to £100, although this figure will be reduced to £50 if people pay within 14 days.

Should people who are not exempt from the rules refuse to wear a face covering, a shop has the right to refuse them entry into the store. Shops can also call the police in the event of non-compliance, with police given the formal enforcement powers to issue a fine.