SHOPS across Winsford and Middlewich are preparing for new coronavirus regulations that will make wearing face coverings mandatory from July 24.

The decision to make face coverings mandatory in shops across England was confirmed by the Government on Tuesday, and businesses across the two towns had mixed reactions.

Some shop owners were in favour of the rule change, including John Matthews, from 152 Menswear in High Street, Winsford.

He said: "I agree with it. I always thought it was a good idea, but the trouble is either everyone has to wear them or no one, it is all or nothing.

"Since we have reopened very few people have been wearing masks in store, but I am actually selling them here. We have actually had an upturn in sales on them this morning [Tuesday]."

Florist Georgina Lockett, who runs Georgina's Incredible Blooms in High Street, added: "If it helps to protect both myself and the customers then yes I am all for it.

Winsford Guardian:

"We have to protect the customers that are coming into shops first and foremost, because without them we would not be in business.

"If it is made compulsory then people will have to get used to it, we'll have no choice about it, we will just have to get on with it."

Jenny Edwards, who works at Willow Bell gift shop in Wheelock Street, Middlewich, was unsure about how the announcement would be received.

She said: "I don't know what impact it will have – it has all just come along all of a sudden.

"I wear a face mask in the shop anyway, but you see some people have got them on and some people have not, so I'm not too sure how it will go."

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While customers will be able to take their masks off, Wheelock Street butcher Aidan Devaney is concerned about wearing the masks for the whole time the shop is open.

He said: "It is very politically divisive – some people are in favour, some are not – and I think it should be up to the individual myself.

"Some people do struggle to wear face masks. I know particular shopkeeper who wore one and started to have headaches, so I think it should be up to the individual to make that decision.

"The problem is shoppers can take them off when they go out, but if we have to wear them it will be all day long. It is testament to the NHS nurses and doctors who wear them all the time, I have got to take my hat off to them."

However, face coverings have already been mandatory at some businesses since they reopened, including Willow Bridal, in Wheelock Street.

Director Helen Williams said: "They are already compulsory for us because we work in close contact with the brides and it has been no problem.

Winsford Guardian:

"It was a non-negotiable thing as part of us being Covid-secure – in order for us to trade we had to wear masks and our clients do as well.

"Everybody has been really understanding – they know this is a new normal that we are all getting used to."

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