Will Rasen be unmasked?

To mask or unmask - that is the question on everyone’s lips following the prime minister’s announcement on the easing of restrictions.

Jenny Salvidge is hoping to reinstate a safe self-service system by investing in new dispensers EMN-210713-105558001
Jenny Salvidge is hoping to reinstate a safe self-service system by investing in new dispensers EMN-210713-105558001

While Boris Johnson confirmed the wearing of masks would no longer be a legal requirement, he emphasised there would be an expectation to wear masks.

He said: “I can’t say it powerfully or emphatically enough: this pandemic is not over. This disease continues to carry risks for you and your family.

“We will stick to our plan to lift legal restrictions and to lift social distancing, but we expect and recommend that people wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with those you don’t normally meet, such as on public transport.”

Where does that leave shops and businesses?

We spoke to some of Market Rasen’s business owners to see what they had to say.

Gail Lee, owner of The Stitch Witch in town’s Union Street said: “My customers will be able to choose for themselves.

“If a customer asks, then I will wear one too, but I won’t be wearing one otherwise.

Bridgit Pitman, owner of the Pet Centre in Queen Street said: “I will be glad to get rid of mine,but if any customer asks me to wear one then I will.”

For fellow Queen Street trader Sally White, at The Gift Horse, things won’t be changing.

She said: “At the moment, I will be keeping masks; we will be requesting people to wear them when in the shop and also to sanitise their hands.

“Then we will see what happens over the next few weeks. We all need to just feel our way a bit for now.

Jenny Salvidge who owns the Green Life Pantry is also keeping her mask and asking customers to sanitise their hands when coming into the shop.

She said: “It is people’s personal choice, but I will certainly be keeping mine for the time being as I have only had one jab and we are told we aren’t protected until three weeks after the second jab.

“After that, we will see how it goes.”

The Pantry is usually self service, but during the pandemic - to reduce infection risk - changed to staff service only.

Now Jenny is making plans to get back to a more ‘safe’ normal by reorganising the shop to allow more space and investing in new dispensers.

She added: “A number of customers have asked about self service and we are doing everything we can to make it happen.

“Customers will only have to touch the handle of the dispensers, so that will help us keep up our cleaning regime. But if they are not comfortable yet with serving themselves, we will be happy to continue to serve them.

“It is still a very uncertain time for people - but it is certainly generating conversation.”

○ Will you be ditching your mask or do you think they should be retained?

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