// Borough Market in London says compulsory wearing of face masks will continue next week
// It bucks the trend in the wider retail sector, with names following relaxed government guidance instead
// Government guidance “expects and recommends” masks to be worn by shop workers & customers from July 19 onwards
Customers and traders at the historic Borough Market in London will have to continue wearing face masks next week despite restrictions being eased by the government.
The food trading precinct in south London, which contains produce stalls and restaurants, said it will be enforcing mask-wearing under by-laws passed by its Trustees.
The decision comes after it surveyed visitors this week and found a “clear majority” are “in favour of mask-wearing beyond the government’s lifting of restrictions” in England next Monday.
- Tesco, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Waitrose, Asda, Aldi & Waterstones encourage face masks
- How will the removal of Covid-19 restrictions affect retail?
People will be able to remove face masks while eating and drinking in Borough Market’s hot food areas, which is the case under the current rules in restaurants and bars.
It echoes the decision made by London Mayor Sadiq Khan that travellers on the capital’s transport network must continue to wear masks from next week and beyond.
However, Borough Market’s decision bucks the trend in the wider retail sector, with big names like Tesco, Morrisons, John Lewis, Waitrose, Asda, Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Waterstones all saying that they would encourage customers and shop workers to continue wearing masks in stores rather than make it compulsory.
Their decision is in line with government guidance published earlier this week, which for retailers said it “expects and recommends” masks to be worn by workers and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces from July 19 onwards.
Borough Market managing director Darren Henaghan said: “It was important for us to understand how our customers felt, and the clear message we received was that they want masks to stay for the time being.
“We have a responsibility to provide a safe and comfortable environment where the public can shop with confidence, so this is the right thing to do.
“Our traders, who will also continue to wear masks, support this move as well.”
In January, the market became the first outdoor retail venue in the UK to make face masks compulsory.
Meanwhile, Spitalfields Market in east London said masks would not need to be worn in the outdoor market itself but the shops within it can ask customers to wear masks inside if they wish.
“In the market itself, they are going to follow government guidelines,” a spokeswoman for Spitalfields told the PA news agency.
“If the government is saying ‘No, you don’t need them inside’, then they won’t make it mandatory.
“For the actual restaurants and shops that run around the edge, that will be at the discretion of those companies.”
with PA Wires