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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Face coverings to become mandatory for retail in England

Date: Thursday 23 July 2020

Customers entering retail environments in England are required to wear face coverings from Friday 24 July, although many garages remain confused about the classification of a retail business and the rules surrounding the mandatory use of face masks.

The new rule, which only applies to customers, will bring England into line with Scotland and other major European nations like Spain, Italy and Germany.

Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, reduced to £50 if the fine is paid within 14 days.

In both Wales and Northern Ireland, face coverings are strongly advised but not mandatory in a retail environment.

The latest scientific evidence suggests that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.

Health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock said: “The liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual.

“Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply, the police have the formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine.

“This is in line with how shops would normally manage their customers and enforcement is of course a last resort, and we fully expect the public to comply with the rules as they have done throughout the pandemic.”

Many independent garages will have argued a case that they are a retail premises for the purposes of business rate relief as well as coronavirus grants.

Some industry experts suggest that the same definition will be used when it comes to the enforced use of face masks in England.

A WAIglobal spokesperson said: “With the government announcing that it will be mandatory to wear face masks from July 24 in all retail shops, the aftermarket is now being encouraged to invest in a new range of PPE equipment that will offer motorists reassurance when shopping and commuting.

“Enforcement will be carried out by police – not retail staff – and anyone failing to wear a face covering while shopping will be subject to a fine of up to £100.”

WAIglobal UK is offering two types of face mask and covering, including a three-layer disposable mask that is fully compliant, CE marked and sold in packets of ten.

There is also the KN95 mask that has a 95 per cent particle filtration, is CE marked and is recommended to be used for up to 12 hours.

Involution also have a large range of medical masks and face coverings in stock now to prevent the spread and passing of the virus. These include 4 ply disposable respiratory masks; 3 ply type IIR medical masks; non-PPE reusable masks and washable natural yarn masks.