Face coverings being made mandatory in shops has come “too late” and could put people off wanting to go out, Huntingdonshire residents have said.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100 from next Friday (July 24), the government announced.
But people across the district questioned why the new rules would not come into force for 11 days, by sharing their thoughts on The Hunts Post social media.
Daz Fox said: “I won’t step foot in a shop if I’m forced to wear one that’s my choice. I’d rather shop online. I think shops will suffer and staff will receive a lot of abuse even though it’s not their fault.”
Marian Preston said: “Personally I’ve been wearing them in shops for most of lockdown. I agree this should have been brought in earlier, but that’s why I made my own decision to wear one - it’s what I felt comfortable doing.”
Kim Nightingill said: “Yes you should wear one if it’s protecting you and others, those who refuse are just ignorant and pathetic until you’re on the receiving end of nearly dying you have no idea.”
Those with certain health conditions were worried that face coverings would hinder their condition.
And the price and availability of masks also caused concern, with some branded designs selling for more than £25 online.
Elsewhere, Black Cat Radio listeners shared their views on a Facebook post by presenter Ste Greenhall, who presents the ‘Full English Breakfast Show’.
Keith Moss commented and said: “I think it’s important to note that wearing a face covering will not stop you catching coronavirus, nor will it stop you from spreading it.
“The virus is tiny and can travel on water droplets so small that they can pass through the tiny gaps in most face coverings.
“It may however reduce the amount of water droplets you spread and the distance they travel.
“Regularly washing your hands and/or using hand sanitizer when out will help you prevent you from picking up the virus from surfaces and spreading it.
“You should not be wearing gloves though as you’re far more likely to catch and/or spread the virus, not to mention the litter.”
Listener Deborah Drew thinks the rule should have been enforced sooner, she said: “It should have been brought in earlier, I imagine the government thought people would wear them and not need to be asked.
“I have worn from beginning in shops not to protect me but to protect others from me.
“I have been giving away free face covering outside my house and lots have been taken so I assume other people think face coverings are a good idea too.”
Some listeners have expressed they are confused why it only applies to just shops.
Mark Cawdrey said: “Another point you don’t have to wear masks in pubs, salons, restaurants, and gyms when they reopen but you have to in shops/supermarkets!?”
Environment Secretary George Eustice told the BBC that research on the use of face coverings, including advice from the World Health Organization, had been “evolving”.
And he said the delay between the announcement and the rule coming into force on 24 July “gives people time to prepare”.
Wearing face coverings in shops is an “appropriate mitigation” against the “overall risk” of the coronavirus, but the rule would not work in pubs, cafes or restaurants, he added.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it would “give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops”.
“A shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if they refuse to comply,” Mr Hancock said.
Mr Hancock told the Commons: “The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75 per cent higher amongst men and 60 per cent higher amongst women than in the general population.”