BUSINESS owners in Northwich have said they are fully behind the decision to make wearing face masks in shops compulsory.

This comes after the Government announced the measure yesterday evening, which will come into force on July 24.

The move will bring England into line with Scotland, where face coverings are already mandatory in shops, and anyone failing to comply with the order could face a fine of up to £100.

As is the case on public transport, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

When speaking to the Guardian, owners of three Northwich businesses said that they supported the decision but questioned why it had not come in sooner.

Kirsty Wernham, of Weigh of the World on Witton Street, said: “If it helps people feel more comfortable coming into Northwich and shopping, then I’m for it.

“Maybe people will feel more protected and that they can protect other people, but I’m surprised it’s not been enforced already.

“People have been wearing face masks in the shop but not the majority, and the downfall is that it’s harder to hear people and be heard, so make sure that you speak up.”

This view was shared by Peter Elliot, of Elliot Footwear on High Street, who said: “It is something we definitely welcome, but this should’ve come in weeks if not months ago.

“The onus is on customers and not business owners, and they will be getting any fines if they don’t comply and not us.

“It’s been around half and half with people wearing them already, but people have to be grown up about it now as the police have enough to be dealing with at the moment.”

Northwich Guardian:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wearing a face mask (Credit: Ben Stansall/PA Wire)

And Tony Turner, of Rosebank Sports on Witton Street, added: “We definitely welcome it, but it should have been taken on board a lot earlier.

“It’s not something that comes natural to us in England, but we’re all in the same boat if everybody is wearing one.

“The number of people wearing face masks has been mixed, but a growing amount of people have now started.

“They’re not particularly nice to wear and they don’t show your personality, but there’s no reason why you can’t put them on going into a shop.”

When asked by the Guardian on Facebook for your thoughts on face masks becoming mandatory, readers gave a mixed reaction.

Sandra Monks was all for the move, stating: “Yes, it’s not a big ask to help keep the infection rate down. Far better than ending up back where we were.”

And Adrian Bell said: “Yes, I’m working in Germany at the minute and you can't go in a garage, supermarket, pub or shop without putting a mask on. I really can't see a problem with it.”

Offering a contrasting view, Carol Hodson said: “My eyesight is quite poor and I wear glasses. At the minute, I put a mask on and my glasses steam up, so I can’t see and walk into people or things.

“Surely this would be more dangerous than going without a mask for my safety and the safety of others, so no, I don’t think it should be compulsory.”

And Dawn Hough added: “Not that this affects me, but what about deaf people who rely on lip reading?

“The other thing is, you see people coming out of shops taking masks off, and what about the germs on hands while doing it.”

Do you have a strong view on this? If so, send your letters to