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Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Retail outlets must play their part

24 July 2020

Retailers must make it “crystal clear” to customers that if they are not wearing a face covering, they will be refused entry, says the National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW).

From today (July 24), it will be law to wear face coverings in all shops and enclosed shopping centres. However, for pubs, restaurants, bars and dining areas in shopping centres, the rules will not apply.

Anyone not wearing a covering can be refused entry by an officer, be instructed to put one on or forced to leave the premises. Adults may be fined £100 – reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days.

Officers will continue to follow the ‘Four E’s’ approach with enforcement as a last resort – but greater onus should be placed on retailers.

PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “As face coverings become a mandatory requirement in stores, police officers are yet again adapting to a new set of unprecedented laws and guidelines which they wouldn’t have even dreamed of before lockdown.

“It is our members who are expected to police what is a new way of living and I would urge retail outlets to play their part in making the rules crystal clear; if you are not wearing a face covering then you are not coming in. Officers will be there to help stores if needed – but only as a last resort, as we simply do not have the resources.

“The vast majority of the public have complied with the lockdown rules so far and I would hope they will continue to do the right thing and wearing face coverings in stores to help protect fellow citizens to minimise the spread of the virus,” he concluded.

You can view the full set of guidelines here.

Chair of ASC PolFed, Insp Andy Roebuck said, “We have not got the capacity to “police” the non-compliance of wearing the masks in shops. We are being reliant on the residents and visitors to the Avon and Somerset policing area in being compliant. We do need our shop keepers and managers to step up in part and do their valued bit by only allowing people who wear the mask to enter their premises. This is a public health concern for the entire country and as such everyone has a significant part and responsibility to ensure their compliance to the government direction”.