From July 24, the wearing of face masks became mandatory in shops and supermarkets. I understand while staff will most likely also wear masks, the rules mainly apply to customers. But surely we have to protect shop workers as they have a higher death rate from COVID-19 than the general population.
Of course people want the confidence to shop safely and protections should be enhanced for the general public and sales assistants.
Sadly, sales assistants, cashiers and security guards have suffered disproportionately in this crisis. The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75 per cent higher amongst men and 60 per cent higher amongst women than in the general population. So as we see shopping restored, we must keep our shopkeepers safe.
On July 14, Mr Hancock told MPs the new laws requiring face masks in shops and supermarkets are needed to protect shop workers.
As we see retail reopening and footfall rising, many of our food outlets, supermarkets and local stores have never closed, which I am sure we have all supported and will carry on to do so.
But COVID-19 is going nowhere and we will have to live with it, in doing so we must all proceed with caution and protect ourselves and others around us.
By protecting shop workers with screens and face protection, maintaining social distancing and sanitising, we can all play our part to mitigate the risk of transmission of this terrible virus.
I have seen some very good examples locally where screens have been put in place for the staff, this has to be a joint effort by the public and shop owners, we can do this together.
I will continue to use the local shops that I feel safe in.