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On Friday, July 24, 2020, I wrote about England’s mask requirement in shops, which came into effect that day.

From what I have been reading online and hearing from people I know, things could get worse for retail, because it seems as if half the population does not wish to comply. Consequently, they will be going out less often to shop.

Now they might turn to online purchases which help the economy but not the local family-owned shops.

Since I was born decades ago, there has been scope creep in all sorts of regulations on people’s personal conduct: mandatory seat belts, severe restrictions on smoking (including in people’s own homes) and now we have mandatory masks, which some rightly call ‘muzzles’ or ‘nappies’.

Yet, some people do not mind scope creep — moving the goalposts — as this tweet from ex-footballer Matt Le Tissier and the reply show:

I’m with Matt Le Tissier and the ‘No’ voters.

I grew up in a world where seat belts were either a) non-existent (yes, I’m that old) or b) optional.

I still wish they were optional — front and back.

But I digress.

Let’s look at how the scene unfolded on Twitter on Friday, July 24.

I do not think this mask regulation can be rightly called a law. A number of fines that police imposed during lockdown had to be overturned. Masks won’t be any different. The police have said so:

Then there are the arcane rules about visiting a takeaway with tables and chairs.

If you go up to the counter to purchase a takeaway, you must wear a mask.

If you wish to dine in that establishment, you do not need to wear a mask provided you head straight for a table and sit down. You will then be waited upon.

However, you cannot go up to the counter without a mask and tell the salesperson that you want to dine in.


I took a look at supermarket sites on Twitter because, last week, rumours circulated in the media that our major chains didn’t care one way or the other.

That really isn’t the case.

Tesco might be losing footfall, but perhaps gaining an online customer or two:

That’s the sort of interpersonal conflict that’s been running for weeks, long before mandatory masks.

It’s completely unnecessary.

This must be the only time a competing supermarket has commented on a Tesco site. This comment is about Scotland, where masks were mandatory before they were in England:

Asda’s announcement illustrated how masks should be worn:

Lidl tweeted a short video about the mask requirement:

Lidl was one of the chains rumoured to not actively enforce the requirement.

A few customers are annoyed with Aldi:

If supermarket staff do not enforce this requirement, the general public will! They’re even worse!

Sainsbury’s is taking a more relaxed approach, which didn’t meet with some customers’ approval:

However, other customers were relieved:

If this is contentious online, how much worse will it be in person?

As for Waitrose and M&S, this Sainsbury shopper is likely to be disappointed (see below):

Waitrose has a thread on masks and exemptions. Well done:

Interestingly, M&S (Marks and Spencer) has no tweet about face coverings.

Perhaps that is the place for the maskless to shop in peace.

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