From today, it is mandatory to wear a face covering in shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres and transport hubs. Under the new rules, should an individual refuse to wear a face covering they could face a fine of up to £100. Likewise, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities are also exempt.
Over recent months it has been sales assistants, cashiers and security guards who have all suffered disproportionately during the coronavirus crisis. This cannot be ignored. I am pleased that action is being taken to mitigate risk and keep our shopkeepers and retail staff safe.
I know many people are concerned with the new rules. For the past six weeks I have been coming down to Westminster on the train so wearing a face mask has become a part of everyday life for me. It can sometimes be hot and uncomfortable, but I can understand why it is important for me to continue to wear a mask.
I believe that it is important to give those who are about to come out of shielding on 1 August, as well as those individuals who are nervous about going out to shops, the confidence to return to some form of normality. With a member of my team shielding, I know that many of those individuals are shielding are concerned about how they will re-emerge next month after such a long time in lockdown. Face coverings are just one way that we can all help reassure and protect those who are more at risk from coronavirus.
We have made good progress in recent months, but it is vital that we continue to move in the right direction. We need to do all that we can to avoid a second wave. I know that the Government keeps all guidelines under constant review to ensure that any restrictions in place are worthwhile measures in the fight against coronavirus. I feel strongly that my constituents should do what they can to comply with these measures
I really hope that these measures will help restore confidence and add further protection to enable people to go about their daily business. However, it is important to keep in mind that this measure is in addition to the existing safety measures, including regular hand washing and observing social distancing.