Some Norfolk shops and offices will still ask you to wear face mask
- Credit: Denise Bradley
Although face masks will no longer be compulsory after July 19, people will still be encouraged to wear them in certain settings across Norfolk and Waveney.
Businesses, attractions and other venues are taking different approaches, with some saying they will encourage face mask use, and others leaving it entirely up to the individual.
The new rules - which are subject to confirmation on July 12 - say face mask wearing will become a "personal choice" although they are likely to still be widely worn in hospitals and health care settings.
We asked people in different sectors about how they would approach face masks in the future.
Pubs and restaurants
Kevin Black, manager of the Henry IV, a Greene King pub in Fakenham, said they would still have measures including hand sanitiser, table service and ordering through an app, but masks would be voluntary.
He said: "I will be advising people to keep their masks on, we want to keep all our team and customers as safe as possible, but at the end of the day it is up to them, but we will be advising it."
Eric Snaith, owner of Titchwell Manor hotel and restaurant, as well as Eric’s Fish and Chips in Holt and Thornham and Eric's Pizza in Thornham, said he would leave it up to his staff and customers to decide.
He said: "I think a lot of staff members won't hesitate to stop wearing them, but if any prefer to carry on wearing them then obviously that can continue.
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"People have become a lot more mindful of not getting in other's personal space, and more people are keen to sit outside if possible. But if we've got customers who are more comfortable with masks on we wouldn't hesitate to wear them."
Theatres and cinemas
Debbie Thompson, director of Sheringham Little Theatre and St George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth, said: "We won't be saying masks are mandatory for audiences but our staff will be wearing masks.
"The whole point is that we're protecting people by wearing a mask so we will be wearing masks."
Lee Allwood, manager of Dereham’s Orion Cinema, said people would be able to choose whether to wear a mask or not when going to watch a film.
He said: “As an industry we take advice from the UK Cinema Association, but as I understand it, people will be free to make their own choice."
A spokesperson from Lowestoft's Marina Theatre said: "Although we’re excited to be able to remove restrictions we are proceeding with caution.
"The most important things for us are that our audiences feel comfortable and that our staff are not put in a difficult position."
Aviva, one of Norwich's biggest employers with around 5,000 staff in the city, said they would follow the official advice.
A spokesperson said: "We will continue to follow government guidance on the use of face masks. They are therefore currently optional in our English offices, and remain mandatory in our Scottish offices."
A spokesperson from North Norfolk District Council said: "We will reflect new advice in our service provision but will remain very happy for both customers and staff to continue to wear a face-covering if they choose to do so personally, and like all employers we will be undertaking a full risk assessment which will further inform our approach."
Matthew Goddard, managing director of Picture Studios in Norwich and Lowestoft, said: "As a company we are going to continue to have them to hand.
"What we have decided to do is that if the staff want to wear them, they can, and we will support them.
"We will continue to wear them for the foreseeable future.
"If customers come in without them, we will ask them if they are happy if we remove the masks we're wearing.
"And if a family of customers are wearing masks, we will support them by wearing a mask as well."
Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury's, said wearing a mask in-store would become a "a matter of personal choice", but they would consult with employees on the matter.
Nathan Gostling, manager of the New Revolution gyms in Attleborough, Dereham, Watton and Wymondham, said July 19 would bring “some normality again.”
He said: “Members will now have the choice about whether to wear a facemask, which is great.
“We’ve lost members due to the face mask policy, because they didn’t want to wear a mask or they didn’t believe in masks. That impacted our business.
“We want to abide by the rules, but we don’t want to enforce additional rules, because it’s just unmanageable.”
Charles Sanders, owner of Sanders Coaches, said: "If the law says you don't have to wear one it's difficult for us to argue against that, but we'll put up notices saying for the comfort and safety of all passengers we request that you wear a mask".
Your say: Will you continue wearing a mask?
"I don't wear a face mask because I've got a medical exemption from my doctor. But when I don't wear one I get a lot of verbal abuse, so I have a snood, which is classed as a face covering, that I wear in shops. I'd feel safer if people kept wearing them." - Belinda Rube, 48, Heartsease
"I'd like if everybody wore their face masks because we're still in a period of high Covid, but people are not following the rules. If you go up to the coast you might as well be at a football match." - Mary Dryden, 69, Weasenham
"I think the government's wrong to change the rules around self-isolation. The incidence seems to be going up at an alarming rate. Why would you stop wearing masks and social distancing? As for foreign travel, I don't see the point." - Timothy Dryden, 68 Weasenham
"At the start most people didn't like to wear a mask. Hopefully it will be finished soon and everything will become normal. I think after July 19 some people will wear them and some people won't. It depends. On the street, only about two people out of 10 are wearing one, but if they go in a shop, they wear one." - Shinwari Hikmatullah, 20, Hellesdon
"I will continue to wear one if I go in a shop, because I've got a chronic lung disease and I can't afford to get an infection. I think the pandemic is still here, and infections are on the rise. My personal opinion is that these restrictions on July 19 shouldn't be lifted." - Glen Allen, 68, Sprowston