Face masks to be compulsory in takeaways and sandwich shops from Friday

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FACE masks will become compulsory in takeaways and sandwich shops under laws that come into force tomorrow.

From tomorrow, customers in fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s have to wear a face while ordering at the counter for a takeaway, but not when sitting down to eat in.

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People must wear face masks in shops from Friday – and anyone who fails to wear one can be hit with a £100 fine.

The Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis today confirmed masks were required for a takeaway.

He said: “Obviously if you’re in a food outlet it’s not practical to wear a face mask.

“What changes from tomorrow is if you’re in a retail environment, if you’re in a shop or a supermarket, you should be wearing a face mask.

“If you’re going into Pret a Manger and you are eating in Pret a Manger, which in some of their stores you can, then obviously you wouldn’t be wearing a face mask because you’re eating.

“But it’s clear, good common sense that if you’re going in to buy a takeaway, and leaving again, you’re treating it like a shop – and you should be wearing a face mask.”

The new rules mean:

Shoppers can also be turned away at tills if they are not wearing a mask, it is understood.

Shop staff will be recommended to wear masks, but it will not be compulsory.

It brings England into line with Scotland where face coverings are already mandatory in shops.

Despite the new rules, stores have said they will not enforce the rule themselves.

The Association of Convenience Stores have warned shops not to challenge customers not wearing masks after lockdown violence against retail workers soared by 40 per cent.

Instead shops have been urged to put up signs reminding people to wear a mask, and will only contact the police as a last resort.

Britain’s most senior police officer yesterday said she hopes shoppers who refuse to wear masks will be “shamed” into compliance.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick told LBC that calling the police over someone failing to wear a face covering should only be “a last resort”.

She added the police will only get involved if shoppers without a mask refuse to leave the store or become “aggressive”.

Thames Valley and Devon and Cornwall forces have also said officers will only attend such incidents if they turn violent.

Today the Prime Minister’s spokesman backed Brits to follow the guidance.

He said: “What I am sure we will find as we have with other aspects of the coronavirus response is that the British public will voluntarily choose to follow the guidelines because they want to play their part in helping to slow the spread of the virus.

“Shops I think we would expect them to give advice to customers and to remind them they should be wearing a face covering, I am sure that the overwhelming majority of the public will do so.”

The changes have sparked confusion before they’ve even been introduced with a series of ministers offering different explanations of how the rules work.

Multiple ministers offered different answers on masks prompting new guidance being issue today to clear up the confusion.

Last week’s announcement also saw Downing Street clash with Health Secretary Matt Hancock after they said masks would not be compulsory in takeaways and he insisted they would.

Questioned over who was correct, Mr Hancock said: “You do need to wear a face mask in Pret because Pret is a shop.

“If there’s table service, it is not necessary to have a mask. But in any shop, you do need a mask. So, if you’re going up to the counter in Pret to buy takeaway that is a shop.”

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman later gave an alternative explanation.

“We will be publishing the full guidance shortly but my understanding is that it wouldn’t be mandatory if you went in, for example, to a sandwich shop in order to get a takeaway to wear a face covering,” he said.

The contradiction came after Michael Gove, who had earlier sparked confusion by suggesting face coverings would not be compulsory, was photographed uncovered in Pret A Manger despite insisting it was “basic good manners” to wear a mask.

Just minutes earlier International Development Secretary Liz Truss had left the same shop in Westminster wearing a face covering.

On Wednesday night, businesses claimed they had still not received clarity on the guidance.

Pret said it had still not been told whether masks would be required for its customers.

McDonald’s has already announced it will reopen around 700 dine-in restaurants across the UK this week, with customers able to place their orders on a mobile app.

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