'All in this together again' - compliance high on mask wearing in shops

'All in this together again' - compliance high on mask wearing in shops
Starting today it is now mandatory for shoppers to wear protective face masks while entering any store. This is a new measure brought in to curb the recent rise in Covid-19 cases. Credit: Damian Coleman Cork, Ireland, 20th July 2020.

Upwards of 90% of people in Cork city are wearing face coverings entering shops this week, according to a number of retailers.

New recommendations stating that face coverings should be worn in all retail settings came into force on Monday.

Liam Ryan who runs four SuperValu stores in Togher, Glanmire, Grange, and Kilmallock said he had seen huge change in the number of people wearing masks since the weekend.

“It’s another string on the bow and if it helps, it helps,” he told The Echo.

All of his staff are also complying with the regulations, however, he said that it can be difficult for them to have their faces covered for such a prolonged period.

Regarding customers he said that mask wearing “is an inconvenience to some people” but said there can also be underlying health reasons for those who aren’t wearing them.

“It isn’t our job to marshall people on whether they should or shouldn’t wear masks. It is our job to make sure we implement it from our point of view,” Mr Ryan said.

“We’re willing to do it if it helps stop the spread,” he added.

He also called on the Government to provide more details on the new cases of Covid-19 being reported, because he doesn’t believe that it is being picked up in retail settings.

Blackpool Shopping Centre's best customer, Siobhan Egan, Lower Dublin Hill, with John Hartnett, Manager Blackpool Shopping Centre, wearing their face coverings.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Blackpool Shopping Centre's best customer, Siobhan Egan, Lower Dublin Hill, with John Hartnett, Manager Blackpool Shopping Centre, wearing their face coverings.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

John Hartnett, manager of Blackpool Shopping Centre, said there has been “huge compliance” and those who weren’t compliant were reminded to do so, but added that the majority of people were very well prepared and had brought masks with them.

For staff members he said wearing masks is something they all will have to get used to, but Mr Hartnett said that they can do it if doctors and nurses “have to wear them for 12 hours a day every day of the week.” 

“I think it’s very much a ‘we’ effort. When you see other people wearing face coverings, you feel like you’re all part of it again. It’s almost like we’re in a school uniform - we’re all in this together with the face coverings,” he said.

“There is that solidarity I think, and there’s certainly that reassurance when you see everyone is wearing a face covering,” he added.

Mr Hartnett also highlighted the loyal customers that visit the shopping centre, and said the “shop local, stay local” matra resonated with the people of Blackpool both throughout the lockdown phases of the pandemic, and still now as the country is on the pathway to recovery.

Susanne Irwin, manager of Wilton Shopping Centre, also said their customers and staff were all compliant with the new guidelines in a bid to ensure everyone’s safety.

“I think everyone feels much safer with them on. If one person has it on you’re protecting yourself but you’re protecting someone else too,” she said.

Ms Irwin said that the shopping centre weren’t refusing anyone entry to the premises, but each shop is policing the compliance with face coverings individually. However, she said there had been no incidents of people refusing to wear masks.

“It just has to be done, for yourself and your family, and the people you’re going to interact with throughout the day,” she said.

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