“I’ll feel safer heading to the shops on July 24 when face masks become mandatory” – this was the view taken by just over half the people who took part in a Chronicle poll on Tuesday (July 14).
The government has said that next Friday, July 24, everyone visiting shops will need to wear a face covering or face a fine – unless the person has a medical reason not to wear one.
Chronicle readers seem split in their views on the new rule, with slightly under half saying they don’t want to wear a face covering while shopping.
Responding to a poll asking: “Now that face masks will be mandatory from July 24, will you be more or less likely to head to the shops?” 71 of the 128 voters (55 per cent) said they would feel safer.
On the other hand, 57 voted “less likely – I hate face masks”.
Reader Christine Marriott simply commented “no”.
Speaking to The Chronicle on Tuesday, some of Reading’s retailers gave their thoughts on the new rule.
“As long as the customers are safe, that’s the main thing,” said Tom Plank, assistant manager of Sweatshop.
He added: “Not much has been decided on just yet, but we are constantly checking for government updates in order to make new rules.
“We have all the other measures in place for social distancing, and members of staff have always been wearing PPE for safety.
“But we also have a treadmill in store, and there would be an exception when using that because it can be very dangerous to wear a mask while running. We always deep clean it after someone has used it, so if the customer feels comfortable enough to take it off while on the treadmill we would advise them to.
“We will implement the new rule once it’s in place on July 24 – safety is our main priority.”
As of July 24, shoppers must cover their mouths and noses while in stores or risk a £100 fine – reduced to £50 if it is paid within 14 days.
The array of shops in Reading will soon have to implement the rule for every customer to wear a mask unless there is a medical reason not to.