SHOPKEEPERS have spoken out against ‘irresponsible’ people who don’t want to wear a mask when they enter their stores.

One shop owner said only those who had suffered with Covid-19 tended to take the rules more seriously whilst others said people were simply ignoring signs as they thought the ‘whole thing was a joke’.

In England, you must wear a face covering in indoor settings including shops and supermarkets. 

The rules state: You are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

Blackburn with Darwen Council said their Covid marshals cannot issue fines but police can do so.

Nizam Patel, of Patel’s Corner Shop based on New Bank Road, Blackburn said: “It is just inconsiderate towards us, the shop workers and other people using the store.

“We can ask them to leave but as a small business it would mean we lose customers. It is a serious problem especially with many young people who think they are immune but age is not a factor in contracting Covid-19. I would urge them to think about others. We have elderly people living with us and we need to think about them.

“It is very selfish of people who do not wear a mask in our store as they are risking other customers who do abide by the law.”

He said having a sign at the door made no difference to some people. He said: “People are just oblivious to the signage. We could put 10 signs up but some people are insistent on breaking the law. All I would say is protect, respect and wear a mask.’

Other shopkeepers said there seem to be ‘a lot of people who claim to have asthma all of a sudden’ and think ‘it is a joke’.

Ishtiaq Butt, who runs Sweet Palace across the road, said: “As a food business we have all our staff wearing masks. But we can’t force people to wear them when they come in.

“It is their decision at the end of the day and all we can do is ask them.

“If we force them some just walk out and we can’t afford to lose their custom.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Raja Azmat, of Raja Video based on Davenport Road, said some people were more responsible than others.

He said: “What I have noticed is the people who are wearing a mask are those who have known someone in their family who had coronavirus or had it themselves in the past. They know what affect it can have.

“Others who have not had it, they tend to be more relaxed.

“It is already tough for small businesses like ours and we don’t have the resources to police this. People need to do think of others.”

He added: “Some people say I left the mask at home and we can’t, as a shopkeeper, ban them. It doesn’t work like that. People themselves need to be responsible for their own actions.

“It also doesn’t help when you visit some of the major supermarkets. You have people wearing masks and staff not wearing them so people don’t think it is important.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Get the message: Nizam is helping to share safety messages to people

According to council guidance, if you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering then you do not routinely need to show any written evidence of this. You also do not need show an exemption card and means that you do not need to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about your reason for not wearing a face covering.

Blackburn with Darwen Council said: “If shops have concerns they can get in touch with Public Protection and we will ask Covid Marshals to include the premises on their patrol route.”