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Face-mask fines still a ‘last resort’ in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 06:08 15 August 2020

Shoppers out in force wearing masks in Norwich city centre on the first day it became mandatory for shoppers to wear face coverings in shops. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Shoppers out in force wearing masks in Norwich city centre on the first day it became mandatory for shoppers to wear face coverings in shops. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2020

People in Norfolk who refuse to wear a face mask in shops will only be fined as a “last resort” - despite Boris Johnson announcing steeper punishments for repeat offenders.

Shoppers out in force wearing masks in Norwich city centre on the first day it became mandatory for shoppers to wear face coverings in shops. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYShoppers out in force wearing masks in Norwich city centre on the first day it became mandatory for shoppers to wear face coverings in shops. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Prime Minister said those who repeatedly failed to wear a covering would be hit with increased fines of up to £3,200.

But in Norwich and Norfolk, where as yet nobody is thought to have been fined since masks became compulsory in indoor public spaces on July 24, police vowed to continue a softly-softly approach to enforcement.

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said the focus would remain on education, explanation and encouraging before going down the enforcement route.

The spokesman said: “Our policing approach will be consistent with all previous public health regulations, in that we will engage, explain and encourage, using enforcement only as last resort.”

They said people in the city and county were playing their part in controlling the spread of coronavirus.

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“Experience has shown us that the overwhelming majority of people in Norfolk take their responsibilities in controlling the virus seriously and the compulsory wearing of face coverings in certain venues and areas has been no different as people want to protect themselves and others.”

The tougher fines are designed to target the most serious breaches of mask-wearing and social distancing restrictions.

They came as more culture, sport and leisure venues were given permission to reopen from this weekend - including bowling alleys and soft play areas.

The plan set out in the road map to recovery, which was paused for two weeks, will resume from Saturday (August 15) in England – except in specific areas where local restrictions are in place.

Mr Johnson said: “Most people in this country are following the rules and doing their bit to control the virus, but we must remain focused and we cannot be complacent.

“That is why we are strengthening the enforcement powers available to use against those who repeatedly flout the rules.”


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