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The UK Government has admitted that it may need to reconsider hygiene measures, including the regulations surrounding the wearing of face masks in public places.
The Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee published the report, which reviewed the current regulations. As of 24th July 2020, it became mandatory for members of the public to wear face coverings while inside shops, shopping centres and transport hubs across England. However, shop managers and employees were exempt from the obligation.
In its recent report, the committee acknowledged that although there are technical reasons behind this exemption, it has led to issues when it comes to staff not wearing masks asking a member of the public to put one on. Given these potential “compliance and enforcement challenges”, the committee has said the Government “should keep the implementation and effectiveness of this policy and any sensitivities arising from it under close scrutiny”.
It comes as a recent snapshot survey by The Guardian showed that adherence to mask-wearing regulations was estimated to be as low as 30% in some areas of the UK. Retailers cited a particularly low adherence among young people, and all in spite of clear signage in shops and around town.
When the regulation was first announced, retailers voiced concerns about whether customers would adhere to the guidance, and who would be responsible for ensuring this. Although police can issue a fine to those not wearing face coverings, the police stated that they simply cannot respond to every call about shoppers not adhering to the rules, so the enforcement of the regulations remains a grey area. This also comes as the Government is also said to be considering additional regulations around the wearing of gloves to further prevent the spread of the virus.
Despite all of this and initial concerns that the regulations would impact footfall and sales, many retailers still remain positive that the rules will help to boost consumer confidence overall.
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