The decision to make face coverings mandatory in shops from today is to be welcomed as another step in re-opening business, say the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.
Chief Executive Paul Clancy has said the Northern Ireland Executive’s decision to make the wearing of face masks mandatory in shops is positive news because it protects both shoppers and staff.
The decision also gives more certainty to businesses about the steps that need to be taken to keep people, including staff, safe.
In a survey carried out with the Chamber’s members last week, 83% of 171 respondents supported the mandatory wearing of face masks in shops by the public.
Londonderry Chamber Chief Executive Paul Clancy said: “We are glad to see some certainty on this issue. A vast majority of our own members in the North West are supportive of the mandatory wearing of face masks in shops because they recognise that it protects the health and safety of their own staff, as well as customers.
“The reality is that we will all have to make some changes to how we live, work, shop and socialise and if the wearing of face coverings is mandatory, it will help promote more of a cultural change in the acceptability of wearing face coverings.
“Shops in the city have put in place new measures and changes which will protect their customers and staff. Many retailers have invested a great deal of time and money to make people feel safe and secure and it is important that customers support the new guidelines.
“This has been an enormous time of change, but we must all play our part to protect public health, keep the spread of coronavirus to a minimum and avoid a second wave which will be catastrophic for many businesses.
“I hope that people will embrace this change and support local businesses as they try to navigate this new landscape. I would also urge members of the public to be mindful of shop staff and treat them with patience and respect.
“The number one priority of retailers is the welfare and safety of their customers and staff and have taken these measures to protect everyone. By shopping local and staying local, we can support small businesses who have been impacted by the lockdown.”
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