MCDONALD’S customers were today kicked out for not wearing face masks – but other shops are ignoring the new rule and cops say it can’t be enforced.
Brits have been left confused after Sainsbury’s, Asda, Co-Op and Costa Coffee say they won’t police the law, and shoppers claim BRAWLS have broken out over it today.
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From today, people will have to wear face masks in shops, supermarkets stations, banks, petrol stations and post offices – and anyone refusing to do so can be fined up to £100.
But some companies say they won’t be acting to enforce that law, which also requires people to cover their faces in all transport hubs, shopping centres and petrol stations.
And police today said the new rule is ‘impossible’ to implement.
Adding to the confusion, customers who sit down to eat, as well as those in pubs, can go without a mask – but anyone buying a takeaway must cover up.
Meanwhile, people have reported seeing fights break out in supermarkets, with masked shoppers confronting those not wearing a covering.
One person told MailOnline: “10:05am I entered Sainsbury’s, 10:08am there’s a fight in the second aisle because someone hasn’t got a mask on and the lady with her kid was panicking and shouting at the anti-masker.
“Lady picks up a tub of double cream and throws it in their face.”
Customers were turfed out of McDonald’s under the new rule.
Bosses from the eatery say takeaway customers will need to wear face coverings, but those who eat in the restaurant will not – unless they are moving around the premises to use toilets or when at self-order screens.
One photo from the Chelmsford branch shows a member of staff speaking to a customer – who is not wearing a mask – while they sit at a table.
Other images show customers being turned away after entering the restaurant without a mask.
At Costco in Thurrock, Essex, two men were turned away from a queue because they didn’t have masks with them.
And now police chiefs have urged shopkeepers to enforce the rule themselves, rather than calling out an officer.
They’ve clashed with supermarket bosses, who say they fear their workers could be abused – and that police must be responsible for making sure customers stick to the rules.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “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.”
Many supermarkets and cafes have already said they will not enforce the new measures.
Asda, Sainsbury’s and Costa Coffee have said it is not their responsibility to ‘police’ customers.
Sainsbury’s said while it is asking everyone to continue “playing their part” in helping to keep shoppers safe by following the rules, “our colleagues will not be responsible for enforcing them”.
Asda said it will “strongly encourage customers to wear a face covering,” but added: “It is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to police and enforce the new rules.”
Costa Coffee said it would “not be challenging customers who enter our stores without a mask since they may have a legitimate reason as to why they are unable to wear one”.
Tesco will be selling face coverings at the entrance and Waitrose said staff would be at the doors to remind customers of the requirement.
But customers will be “required” to wear a face covering in Greggs.
To add to the problems, some police forces have also said they won’t be enforcing the wearing of masks in shops.
Devon and Cornwall police became the first force in the UK to admit officers will not respond to calls about shoppers refusing to wear masks.
Thames Valley police have also announced the same.
And Met chief Dame Cressida Dick said she hopes people will be “shamed” into wearing face coverings rather than having to be fined.
She said cops would only intervene “as a last resort” or if customers become “aggressive”.
The PM’s spokesman said shopkeepers should only “escalate” matters to police if customers refuse to wear a mask or leave their store.
He added: “The overwhelming majority of the public can be trusted to follow the rules without any need for enforcement action.”
It has already been compulsory for travellers to wear a mask on public transport since June 15, 2020.