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‘Ambiguous and confusing’ - What do shoppers think about new face mask rules?

PUBLISHED: 08:35 24 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:00 24 July 2020

Joy Liddell, 76, from near Newmarket Road in Norwich. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Joy Liddell, 76, from near Newmarket Road in Norwich. Picture: Ruth Lawes

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With face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets from today, we asked shoppers in Norwich for their thoughts on the latest government measures.

Elsie Vonova, 27, from Earlham Road in Norwich. Picture: Ruth LawesElsie Vonova, 27, from Earlham Road in Norwich. Picture: Ruth Lawes

‘Ambiguous and confusing’

Chaska Holden, 20, who works in a Co-op supermarket, from Briston near Holt. Picture: Ruth LawesChaska Holden, 20, who works in a Co-op supermarket, from Briston near Holt. Picture: Ruth Lawes

One of 76-year-old Joy Liddell’s biggest concerns is that shoppers will refuse to wear face coverings - and she predicts a large number of shoppers will not wear them.

Ms Liddell, from near Newmarket Road, said: “I think loads of people will break the rules or at least give it ago. Only moments ago I overheard a family discussing wearing face coverings and they all said they would not bother. It is shocking.

Leon Flint, 18, from Norwich and Matt Britton, 18, a lifeguard from Great Yarmouth. Picture: Ruth LawesLeon Flint, 18, from Norwich and Matt Britton, 18, a lifeguard from Great Yarmouth. Picture: Ruth Lawes

“In terms of enforcing face coverings, I really think it has got to start with businesses. Staff should be on the doors and actively turning people away if they do not wear them. I find it extraordinary that it isn’t included in the measures.

“As well as that, I think the guidelines are very ambiguous and confusing for people. Too much of the messaging has been ‘use your common sense’. In other countries, they have less of a tolerance of people breaking the rules and they are instantly fined and even put in jail.”

‘Things aren’t getting better’

Chaska Holden, 20, from Briston, who works in a Co-op store, said wearing face coverings in shops was vital.

She said: “Things aren’t getting better and, to be honest, I think we need more rules. It’s no big deal wearing face coverings and I think it is a good idea.”

‘Face coverings should be mandatory everywhere’

For 27-year-old Elsie Vonova, the new guidelines do not make sense and she called for the measures to be more wide-reaching.

Ms Vonova, from Earlham Road, said: “I don’t understand how you can go into a pub where there are lots of people and it isn’t law to wear face coverings.

“I think it’s a good idea to introduce them in shops, and I understand the need to keep shop staff safe, but I worry about hospitality staff. What is being done for them? Face coverings should be mandatory everywhere.

“I also don’t understand why shop staff don’t have to wear face-coverings. My mum works in A&E and she said it is only really effective when everyone has to wear face coverings. In hospital, people were getting sick as not all staff had face-coverings. The guidelines do not seem well-thought out.”

‘It’s a bit late’

For Leon Flint, from the city centre, introducing the new guidelines on July 24 is “a bit late”.

The 18-year-old said: “I don’t understand why wearing face coverings was not law from the start of the pandemic. I think then people wouldn’t have kicked off about it so much as they would have been used to it.

“I think the new rules are fair enough and they are easy enough to understand. It’s whether people actually go along with it tomorrow, I suspect some people will refuse to wear them.”

His friend Matt Britton, a lifeguard from Great Yarmouth, said people should “stop moaning about wearing face coverings and just get on with it”.

The 18-year-old added: “There are lots of people who are at risk and face coverings could help save lives. No one is immune from Covid-19, even if you are healthy and young.”


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