Masks still in use for many in Shropshire

The Government might have scrapped its mandatory face mask rules but Shropshire seems to be sticking with the coverings for now.

Mark Edwards outside his Prego shoe shop in Shrewsbury
Mark Edwards outside his Prego shoe shop in Shrewsbury

The past 16 months have seen facemasks become part of everyday life, with no trip to the supermarket complete without one.

But as the clock struck midnight on Sunday the law requiring people to wear them in shops, and other indoor settings, expired.

The Government has moved to the 'personal responsibility' stage of the pandemic, where it asks people to make their own judgment about whether they are necessary.

In an attempt to gauge the mood the Shropshire Star spoke to businesses, shoppers, residents and visitors to the county town to see if anything has really changed.

Mark Edwards, who runs the Prego shoe shop on Shrewsbury's Square, said they were taking an approach led by customers.

Mr Edwards, 64, said he was not wearing a mask as routine, but would put one on if customers were wearing them.

He said the vast majority of those visiting the shop – around 80 per cent – were still wearing face coverings.

He said: "We let the customer choose. That is the most important thing. If someone comes in with a facemask and they feel uncomfortable then I will put one on. It is all customer-driven."

Mr Edwards said that staff at the store are doing Covid tests twice a week.

He said: "We are doing lateral flow tests twice a week and that to me is more important.

"I think myself if you are given a lateral flow test to take and you have not got it I don't think there is an issue – if you are double jabbed of course."

Matt Dyke who works at Pockets on the Square said people were generally wearing the face coverings when coming into the shop.

He said: "Most people are still wearing them. We are not putting any pressure on people. I am personally wearing one, not because I have been told to, just because it is courteous."

Mr Dyke, 31, and from Newcastle-under-Lyme, said he estimated around 70 per cent of people visiting the shop were still wearing masks.

He said: "It has not really changed since the rules have changed."

He said that he thought there was little to lose by continuing to wear them, adding: "It is not the end of the world having a mask on inside. I will carry on wearing one."

Lucy Rosthorn-Said and Wael Said from Bridgnorth

Bridgnorth husband and wife, Wael Said and Lucy Rosthorn-Said, both said they would be continuing to wear them while out and about.

Mr Said said he believed it was too early for the Government to lift the requirement.

He said: "I will still wear them. To stop it spreading. It is for our own safety and the safety of our parents."

Mr Said said he felt there were fewer people using the masks since Monday, and he would continue to follow the previous rules, adding: "At least the mask, it is the minimum. I will be keeping the distance as well."

Mrs Rosthorn-Said said that the Government could have reduced confusion by sticking with the facemask rules, adding that she believed there is a long way to go before the pandemic is over.

Eddie Mould from Shrewsbury

Eddie Mould, eight and from Shrewsbury, has just returned from studying in Barcelona, and said there wanoticeableable difference to Spain, where people had been required to wear masks on the street up until two weeks ago.

He said he would be wearing the coverings despite the Government's change in rules.

He said: "It is what I am used to. They said two weeks ago in in Spain that you don't have to wear them on the street – the rule for a lot of the time was you had to wear them in the street, but it didn't change, people were still wearing them."

He said he also thought the Government had moved too early in lifting the requirement to wear them.

He said: "In terms of them being removed I do not think it is time yet because the numbers are still too high. In a place like Shrewsbury it might be okay but not in bigger cities."

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