Last week the Government announced that from today (July 24), people visiting shops and supermarkets will be required to wear a face covering, or risk being fined, although this is being seen as a last resort by officers in the county.
Police have been liaising with local retailers and partners to ensure they have the right information and guidance ahead of the face coverings rule coming into force.
Chief Inspector Andy Morrice, who is Silver Commander for Lincolnshire Police’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, explained: “We are still awaiting full details and legislation in relation to mandatory face coverings and what the police role in that will be, but we do know that here in Lincolnshire our approach will remain the same as it has always been. This is to engage, explain, and encourage. If that does not prove effective in convincing people to comply with legislation then, as a last resort, we will enforce and issues fines.
“So far the majority of people in this county have been following government guidance and we have no reason to suggest they will act otherwise now. We’re grateful for that and hope it continues with this new set of guidelines.
“I’d ask people to remember that personal responsibility is key here. Face coverings are mandatory to try and protect against coronavirus and prevent the spread of it. You may feel fine but the person doing their shopping opposite you may not, or may not be showing symptoms at that point in time; if they aren’t wearing a face covering they could easily spread the virus to you and to others. All of these measures are in place to try and get people back to some kind of normality and avoid a return to the full lockdown we saw in March.”
He said: “We have been working with local businesses to ensure they can help people to comply with the legislation. This involves a number of measures including, but not limited to, clear signage at store entrances, dedicated members of staff managing queues and checking customers have face coverings, and managing those who might refuse to wear a face covering.
“We have been very clear that while we have the powers to issue fixed penalty notices we are relying on retailers to do all they can to make sure customers in their stores adhere to legislation before we are asked to step in. If you happen to be out shopping and have any questions or concerns relating to face coverings please raise them with a member of staff in the store before calling police.”
Government guidance on face coverings can be found via this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own