On the 24th July 2020, face coverings became mandatory in all shops including supermarkets, shopping centres, post offices and food to go (unless sitting down with food or table service is available). Customers must wear face coverings before they enter a shop and keep it on until they leave.
The BRC has been working with our members and the government to ensure everyone, including consumers, understands their obligations under the new law.
It is the customer’s responsibility to wear a face covering and failure to do so can result in a £100 fine (or £50 if the fine is payed within 14 days). A recent BRC-Opinium consumer survey showed a dramatic rise in the number of people intending to wear face coverings in stores, even before they became mandatory on the 24th July. Clearly the majority of the public are prepared to take the necessary steps to keep everyone safe, supported by retailers and enforced by the police.
Exceptions to wearing face coverings include young children and those with underlying health conditions that would prevent them wearing one. For more information on this, and to find out if you are exempt, government guidance can be found here.
We ask that customers be respectful and considerate of each other when shopping and recognise that not all reasons to be exempt from wearing a covering may be visible. Those who are exempt may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering, or wearing a sunflower lanyard; however, they have no obligation to do so. As a result, many retailers have stated that they will not refuse entry to anyone without a face covering.
Retailers are supporting the new regulations by encouraging the use of face coverings including putting posters in shops and reminding people to put them on as they enter stores. This is on top of the many social distancing measures already in place inside and outside of stores.
It is not compulsory for shop workers to wear face coverings although government has recommended that employers consider their use where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place. It is worth remembering that, to ensure the safety of staff and customers, retailers have invested in a range of measures from installing Perspex screens at checkouts, to floor markings, to ensuring social distancing is maintained. The BRC will review any updates to government guidance to ensure we remain compliant.
Further guidance for BRC members can be found here.
The updated Government Guidance and Regulations on Face Coverings can be found here.