Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth residents react to masks becoming mandatory in shops

Face masks or coverings became mandatory in shops, supermarkets, banks, post offices and more across

Face masks or coverings became mandatory in shops, supermarkets, banks, post offices and more across England from today. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA - Credit: PA

Residents from across Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth have had mixed reactions to the news that masks have been made mandatory in all shops, supermarkets and more today.

As it became clear that face coverings were going to become compulsory in shops, both the country and our area witnessed a mixed response to the news.

Today, people from Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth have shared their thoughts on the ‘new normal’ online.

One Facebook user pleaded: “Please wear a mask today and follow the rules to help keep everyone safe. But, do be aware of those who are exempt as not every disability is visible.

“Be kind and don’t judge what you don’t know.”

Another said: “I don’t know what the fuss is about. I will do what I’m asked and hopefully this horrible thing will go away.”

But some pondered if making face coverings mandatory breached their rights to choose to wear one, and others questioned the extra burden patrolling shops for mask-dodgers could place on police officers.

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Those who ignore the new rule could face a fine of £100, which would be halved if paid within 14 days.

There are exemptions for children under 11, those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.

One person said: “It’s our own right to choose to wear one [a mask]. We have human rights and it’s money making.”

Another asked: “I didn’t realise the police had the resources to man every shop. They have better things to do.”

Coverings are now mandatory in all shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, takeaway queues, banks and post offices – having already been made compulsory on public transport.

Shop staff may also ask you to remove your mask to see your whole face for the purpose of age identification, for example when buying alcohol, cigarettes, or lottery tickets.

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