Small shops call for police enforcement over masks

By Fiona Walker
BBC Scotland health correspondent

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Convenience stores in Scotland have called for greater police enforcement over the wearing of face coverings.

Owners and staff in smaller stores have told BBC Scotland there has been a rise in the number of people refusing to wear masks in their shops.

The Scottish Grocers' Federation said its members should not put up with being verbally or physically assaulted for asking customers to comply.

Anyone aged five and over must wear a face covering unless they are exempt.

Those exemptions could include various medical conditions and disabilities and the need to communicate with someone who lip reads.

Shopkeepers have said there was very high compliance to start with, but mask "fatigue" is now rising with a growing number of people refusing to cover their faces.

Abdul Majeed runs the Nisa store in Bellshill in North Lanarkshire. It is in one of Scotland's areas currently under further restrictions due to rising infection rates.

Abdul Majeed

He said: "We have asked customers to wear masks and some say they have a medical condition and we have to respect that.

"Others just shrug their shoulders and say they either forgot it or it's in the car, but there seems to be a hardcore who for whatever reason won't wear one or refuse to wear one.

"As a business owner, as much as I want to refuse to serve them, there is so much competition and people will take their business elsewhere.

"That group that refuse to wear them is growing."

shop queue

Within Nisa in Bellshill, one of the non-mask wearers explained his reasons for not complying.

He said: "I have not heard of anyone with the virus, I got fed up doing it and I don't believe in it any more. I feel fine, my family's fine. If people really care about it they have masks on and if they are following all the rules, and what they believe in they should be all right themselves."

Another said she had asthma: "I would like a badge or something that could explain why you're not wearing it, because people look at you," she said.

Dan Brown

In Musselburgh, East Lothian, Dan Brown at Pinkie Farm stores says his staff are at risk not just from the virus but also from abuse.

He told the BBC: "There can be some quite strong opinions on wearing masks which can sometimes lead to confrontation, abuse and even violence.

"We have seen various levels of confrontation and abuse oRead More – Source

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