People in England May Face $250 Fines for Refusing to Wear Face Masks

·2 min read
Photo credit: SOPA Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: SOPA Images - Getty Images

People in England face being fined £200 (roughly $260) if they're caught not wearing face masks on public transport or in shops, reports The Telegraph.

The government is bringing in the new measures in order to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, and from Tuesday 30 November anyone caught without a mask will face a fine of £200.

That fine will then rise to £400 for a repeat offender and will continue to rise for each further infraction, up to a maximum of £6,400. Fines will, however, be reduced by half if they're paid within fourteen days.

The new rules only apply to public transport and shops, which has left some critics questioning why the need to wear face masks hasn't been extended to restaurants and pubs or venues such as cinemas, theaters or at gigs.

In response to the criticism, health secretary Sajid Javid said: “Doing it in this proportionate way where it’s for public transport, it’s for retail outlets, I think is the right level of response on masks.

“It will be via government regulation and that means, I think, that people will take it seriously.”

But despite Javid's optimism, not everyone intends to impose the new rules. The Co-op has said that it won't be enforcing face masks in its stores, while Richard Walker, the managing director of the supermarket chain Iceland, has said that he won't be asking employees to police the wearing of masks.

He told the Daily Mail: "We fully support the reintroduction of compulsory face masks in shops, however, we won't be asking our store colleagues to police it.

"Our store teams, alongside all retail workers, have shown heroic efforts in terms of ensuring safety for customers and building back consumer confidence and it's crucial that we stay focused on the long-term recovery of the high street.

"We need to continue to encourage people to shop in stores if they feel comfortable, and I'm hopeful that the latest guidelines won't discourage customers from doing so."

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