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Is Face Coverings In Shops Compulsory

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nailit | 16:48 Fri 24th Jul 2020 | Law
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Just been into my local corner shop (with mask on) and no other customers were wearing them.
Queried it with the shop assistant who told me that the owner had decided that he was leaving it up to the customers whether to wear one or not.
Also been reported in my local rag that many big name stores are refusing to 'police' customers who dont wear a face covering.

So is this thing *law* or simply guidline's with threat of a fine?
(And how can you be fined for dismissing a 'guidline'?
Thanks.

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//I sneezed in my mask on the way home work last week. I had to sit for half an hour, on the bus, covered in my own snot and germs from work. Is this healthy?// I've just come off the phone to my cousin (today is her birthday). She is the clinical nursing manager ("Matron" in old money) in a large West Country hospital. She has spent her entire working life (>30 years)...
19:28 Sat 25th Jul 2020
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All I want is a clarification of the law.
But its so vague as to be meaningless.

What is unclear about it? The law is you must wear one in shops. You can be fined for not wearing one. But it's not up to the shopkeeper to perform a citizen's arrest. They can politely remind you or even refuse to serve you and have the option of calling the police. It's not that different to laws about not smoking in shops or not verbally/racially abusing staff
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People meandering around today with out any face coverings and no body to police it.
So whats the point?
It certainly cant be LAW or else the police would have been pouncing.
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ff
//What is unclear about it? The law is you must wear one in shops//
Unless ur exempt...and no clear guidence about how to prove that.

//They can politely remind you or even refuse to serve you and have the option of calling the police.//
And the police have said that they will not police it!
It's the first day. People forgot or thought they'd wait and see how many others wore the, Or some just like to show they can't be told what to do. A few days of polite reminders. Then maybe a few fines will be issued to deter those who don't think this law needs to be followed. The police know it's not the right time to go steaming into corner shops- even if they had the resources
If the police have said that then the Home Secretary will hopefully call in the chief constables
Anyway, you do what you ever you think is right for you and the people around you
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//The police know it's not the right time to go steaming into corner shops- even if they had the resources//

Think the police know that its also un-enforceble!
If someone says that they are exempt, how are they going prove otherwise.
(and when was the last time that you ever saw a police officer with a face covering )?
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//Anyway, you do what you ever you think is right for you and the people around you//
I do, and I wear a mask when asked.
This question was about the legality of it all.
How are the police going to fine you anyway? Follow you home to see where you live? March you to an ATM? The police round here can’t be bothered with anything.

Anyway, it’s all been mixed messages and confusion right from the start of the pandemic.
If almost everyone, like you and me, chooses to wear one then the legal/enforcement aspects won't matter for the vast majority of us.
Let’s clear up any debate about it being a law – it is a law, enacted by a “Statutory Instrument”.

//So if its law, then can the corner shop owner not also be fined for not enforcing the wearing of face coverings for their customers in their premises?//

No. The law doesn’t provide for it. The smoking legislation does.

But this is where it gets interesting:

//Thats what I dont get Ken. If it was an actual, enforcable, law then just saying that you are exempt from that law wouldnt be enough to exonerate you (for instance, if you were caught driving without a seat belt on, simply saying that you are exempt because you are pregnant or reversing wouldnt be enough to convince plod...)//

//As it stands, I can simply say that I am exempt from wearing one. If im issued a fine, I can appeal it and go to court where I can say that I am exempt from wearing one. Case dismissed as nobody can disprove it as no GP's are issuing exemption certificates.
What kind of *law* is this?//

As it stands, you don’t have to say anything at all, though simply saying you are exempt won’t hurt. The reason is because the legislation has been badly framed. It says this:

“No person may, without reasonable excuse, enter or remain within a relevant place without wearing a face covering.”

The legislation then goes on to helpfully provide a non-exhaustive list of “reasonable excuses”. So, what does the prosecution have to prove to see a conviction? They have to show, beyond reasonable doubt, that the defendant entered or remained in a relevant place without a face covering AND also without a reasonable excuse. The defendant need prove nothing. Unless the court is satisfied that no reasonable excuse was present (and it’s hard to see how they could be) then it is my view that no conviction can take place. By contrast, the seat belt legislation which has been mentioned is framed differently. It simply says:

(1) Subject to the following provisions of these Regulations, every person—
(a) driving a motor vehicle (other than a two-wheeled motor cycle with or without a sidecar);
(b) riding in a front seat of a motor vehicle (other than a two-wheeled motor cycle with or without a sidecar); or
(c) riding in a rear seat of a motor car or a passenger car which is not a motor car;

shall wear an adult belt.

Plain and simple. Every person must wear a seat belt. All that needs to be proved is that the defendant was not wearing one. The “following provisions” that are mentioned form an exhaustive list where the requirement does not apply (medical reasons, when reversing, etc.). But it falls on the defendant to show that he can take advantage of one of those provisions and if he fails he will be convicted.

The face covering legislation is sloppily drafted and unless the defendant is stupid I cannot see how a conviction can be achieved.
How are the police going to fine you anyway? Follow you home to see where you live? March you to an ATM?

Maybe in the same way as with other laws? Just a thought?
Oh, I didn’t know it would be an arrestable offence.
In time people will comply. A bit like smoking in pubs. People generally follow the rules/laws so the police only generally get involved if there is a public order issue
So far as I can see it's a regulation and not a law passed by parliament. I may be behind the times on this - it's late and I haven't read all the answers. I'm exempt and walked around quite happily today without a mask, got a few odd looks but no-one challenged me as such. A nice lady at Tesco's, who I usually chat to, asked me if I had a mask handy and I began to explain and she gave me a lanyard to wear whenever I was there. Nice of them. She never asked for proof, but I did have it with me.

The only person who looked reasonably serious about asking me about a mask was at Timpson's - but he shut-up when he found I was there to buy some passport photos! (Masks don't count in that case!)

I think it's rather nonsensical now t.b.h., the time for masks was in March/April.
It’s a bloody stupid and pointless law. The likelihood of catching or passing on Covid fleetingly passing somebody in a shop is ridiculously small.

And why now, when there’s only a 1 in 4000 chance of catching Covid, and not in April?

I’ll wear one, even though it’s pointless, if nothing else to avoid getting into rows with precious, frightened, people who seek to be convinced that without a mask we’re all going to die.
I do find it ironic that I’m going to have to muzzle-up tomorrow to buy a pint of milk, and yet this evening I’ve spent a few hours in a pub with mates, where there were lots of other people, without having don a mask.

The world has gone barking mad.
//It's not that different to laws about not smoking in shops//

It’s completely different. The smoking legislation places a responsibility on people responsible for business premises to erect signs and to take steps to ensure people do not smoke on the premises. The face coverings legislation does not.

//How are the police going to fine you anyway? Follow you home to see where you live? March you to an ATM?//

No, jo, Fixed Penalties don’t work like that. A police officer will verify your details (or arrest you if he cannot and hold you in custody whilst he does). The notification of the penalty is served on you and if you don’t pay court proceedings follow. But as you say, it’s most unlikely they will be bothered.
I agree deskdiary. Yesterday in Tesco it was packed and people were wandering about all over. The staff - who wear T shirts with the ‘2 metres apart’ logo - would come right up close to me. We’ve already breathed all over each other; now we have to wear masks 10 days after the gov said decided it would be a good idea. And about 4 months too late.

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