October 29, 2020

Coronavirus: What do shoppers think about wearing face coverings?

Shopper wearing face covering Image copyright Getty Images

Wearing face coverings in shops is now compulsory in Scotland, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hoping that their use becomes as automatic as wearing a seatbelt in a car. We asked shoppers in Edinburgh if they have been wearing them already, and what they think about the new law.

Some said they were already starting to get into the routine of wearing a face covering ahead of the new regulations coming into effect.

Doctor Agnieszka Janas, 26, said: “During the lockdown I wore a mask if I remembered to bring one, but now it’s becoming more of a habit.

“I’m carrying one in my pocket to go to the shops.”

Image caption Tom Dempsey said he was carrying a buff to wear in shops

Tom Dempsey, 29, said he had occasionally been wearing one, but had felt that the advice was “a little bit confusing”.

However, he added: “I’m now carrying a buff to wear in shops.”

Student Renee Stevens, 23, said she had not been wearing a mask, and had not seen other people wearing them.

“But now I have one in my bag because of the new rule,” she said.

“It feels a bit late to bring in the rule as nobody has been wearing them.”

Image caption Renee Stevens says she now carries a face covering

Juliana Poprawiak, 44, who is originally from Brazil, said: “I have been using a mask.

“It’s annoying me on my nose, but I have to wear it now so I will just put up with it.

“I think people will try to go into the shops without wearing a mask as that’s what has happened in Brazil.”

However, Ally Weir, 30, from Edinburgh, said he would not go to the shops unless he needed to.

Image caption Juliana Poprawiak said she would “put up with it”

“Everyone is acting a bit weird, so I’m a bit put off going to the shops.

“I wouldn’t go for a browse around the shops as its all a bit stressful.”

Rich Fields, 52, said: “I’m out just now getting some last bits and bobs because I don’t want to wear a mask, so I won’t be back to the shops until it changes.

“I’ve not worn a mask during the lockdown in the supermarkets, so I don’t see the point in starting now.”

Some small shop owners said they were worried that there could be an impact on their businesses.

Nikki Halliday, of Edinburgh card shop the Bay Tree Company, said some customers had said they were not planning to go out shopping because they did not want to wear a face covering.

Keren Brynes Maclean, owner of Health Food & More in Kirkcaldy in Fife, said: “I’ve already had people challenging me about it and asking if I will allow them into the shop without a mask.”

Image copyright Kate Harahan
Image caption Kate Harahan said her business had been struggling to attract customers

Kate Harahan, who owns Neal’s Yard Remedies in Hanover Street, said: “I have had some customers who have been very vocal saying they definitely won’t be coming in after Friday.

“It is a real shame because we are already struggling.

“I’m concerned because we have not had many customers as it is.”

Adrian Smith, owner of House in Edinburgh, said he had initially been worried that the new rules might put people off visiting non-essential shops.

But he added: “I’m hopeful now that people will get used to it and that after a while they won’t feel embarrassed to wear a mask.”

The Scottish Retail Consortium said there were “very challenging trading conditions” at the moment – but hoped the new rules would “reaffirm it is safe to come back to the high street and support Scottish shops”.

“We need customers to come out and shop because every purchase helps to support stores and protect Scottish retail jobs,” said its head of policy, Ewan MacDonald-Russell.