Businesses such as Sainsburys have told their staff not to challenge people not wearing masks also.
People of the UK were told that face masks will be mandatory in shops such as restaurants, takeaways and supermarkets from tomorrow (Friday 24th July).
Fines of up to £100 have been threatened to those not following the ‘guidelines’ but in a U-turn police are saying that they may not be able to enforce it.
And Health Secretary Matt Hancock will publish an order later today to amend the Public Health Act 1984 to make face masks compulsory in shops in England.
However, police officers warn the law will be virtually impossible to enforce.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick suggested shop staff should only call police if they “have tried everything else” if a shopper refuses to wear a mask.
And the Association of Convenience Stores said: “We have advised members not to challenge customers unwilling to wear a covering.”
Sainsburys have also told their staff not to challenge any customers.
Cressida Dick said: “Calling the police should be a last resort for dealing with a mask issue. But of course the law is the law.”
Dame Cressida went on: “My hope is that the vast majority of people will comply, and that people who are not complying will be shamed into complying or shamed to leave the store by the store keepers or by other members of the public.
“If somebody is concerned about what is going on in their store, yes, of course they should call the police and we will try to assist.”
However, some police and crime commissioners such as in Thames Valley, Devon and Cornwall, have said their officers will not attend incidents where shoppers refuse to wear masks, unless they turn violent.
This has left the nation confused about where masks really are mandatory and whether the fines are right to be given.
The Health Secretary is to lay more details out later according to a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson who said earlier:
“From Friday 24 July it will be mandatory to wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets, as is currently the case on public transport.
“If a shop or supermarket has a café or a seating area to eat and drink you can remove your face covering in that area.
“Further details will be set out in the regulations.”
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