Bury St Edmunds businesses share mixed opinions on new government mask advice
Bury St Edmunds businesses have shared mixed reactions to new government guidelines making it compulsory for customers to wear face coverings in supermarkets and shops.
The new changes, brought in last Friday to slow the spread of coronavirus, mean that if you are caught without a face covering, you could be fined £100.
Shops in the town which have been reopening over the past few weeks, and making adjustments to ensure customer experiences are as smooth as possible, have taken different views on what the changes will mean for them.
Adrian Bradley, owner of Pocket Watch and Petticoats, in St John’s Street, said: “It is something that we’ve got to get used to. It’s a strange way of shopping but it’s not a lot to ask. We’re not asking them to give blood.”
Adrian said the vast majority of customers had been receptive to the idea of wearing a mask in their shop and that it was important for people to ‘try and move with the times.’
Trotter and Deane, in Abbeygate Street, have been scanning customers’ temperature upon arrival and asking them to sanitise their hands and wear masks whilst in the shop and having fittings.
John Deane-Bowers, who owns the menswear shop which reopened around June 15, said he felt ‘positive’ about the new rules coming in.
“Hopefully it will give people a sense of security and I think if people are unwilling to wear masks then I think it’s possibly a little bit selfish of them,” he said.
William Hunter, who owns Vinyl Hunter in St John’s Street, said they have been making customers wear gloves and masks regardless, but that he still welcomed the new rules.
“Making everyone wear masks and gloves keeps everyone safe, especially our staff. I think for us, it’s fantastic news because we were spending a lot of money on masks because no one had any.”
Not all businesses had great things to say about the new changes however, or the way in which the government has brought them in.
Robert Cope, who owns Robert’s hairdressers in St John’s Street, said whilst the changes shouldn’t affect the way they go about their day-to-day too much, they will ‘definitely’ have an impact on business.
Guy Readman, who owns Suffolk Jewellery and Antiques a few doors up, said business was ‘hard enough without putting more restrictions on’ and that he thought a lot of people ‘don’t feel comfortable’ with the idea of wearing a mask.
Ken Humphrey’s, owner of Humphrey’s Butchers just off Market Square, said he was confused by the mixed messaging coming from the new rule.
He said he found it bizarre that he doesn’t have to wear a mask as a worker in his shop, but if he were to cross the street and go inside Marks and Spencer, he would then all of a sudden have to wear one.
More by this authorSam Walker
This website and its associated newspaper are members of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)