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Questions on enforcement of face coverings in shops

30 July 2020

The Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has published a report on the Government's regulations in respect of wearing face coverings in public places.

The Regulations came into effect on 24 July 2020 and require members of the public to wear face coverings whilst inside shops, shopping centres and transport hubs in England.

Enforcement methods and various exemptions for the non-wearing of face masks broadly mirror the existing legislation that requires masks to be worn on public transport.

Shop managers and their employees are, however, exempt from an obligation to wear a face covering.

The Committee recognises that there are technical reasons for this difference in requirement to wear a mask but suggests that it can reasonably be anticipated that difficulties may arise where a shop worker, who is not wearing a mask, asks a member of the public to put one on. The Committee concludes that “given the potential challenges … the government should keep the implementation and effectiveness of this policy and any sensitivities arising from it under close scrutiny”.