Most take to wearing masks as mandatory measures take effect

ISLANDERS appeared to have taken the imposition of mandatory mask-wearing in their stride yesterday as shops reported business as usual and the High Street was filled with many people wearing masks.

While having to wear a mask in shops might have been new for shoppers, staff said they had been wearing them for some time before the new rules came into effect.

‘We started wearing them full-time on Wednesday,’ said Feel Unique supervisor Sandy de Carteret.

‘We’ve been wearing them for a while when we’ve had any close contact with a customer for things like a colour match.’

About 70% of the customers they had seen up to yesterday had been in masks anyway.

‘People have been fine about it, although everyone has been saying about their glasses steaming up.’

One spectacle wearer who knew the irritation all too well was hairdresser Maxine Batiste.

‘The glasses issue is a nightmare,’ she said.

‘I’ve only been wearing a mask in supermarkets so far.’

She could understand the need for masks in shops but was glad the rule did not extend further. ‘I feel in the service industry it’s nice not have to wear them all the time, but in shops fair enough. But I feel it should be more the customer that has to wear them rather than the employees.’

Margaret and Peter Holland had their masks on while walking through Market Square.

‘You get used to it,’ said Mrs Holland.

‘We wear them all the time. I’d rather be safe than sorry.’

‘I don’t think it’s a problem,’ said Mr Holland.

‘They keep your face warm, too.’

Card Factory manager Paul Billien said only two people had come into the shop not wearing masks who had not excuse.

‘We’ve been told we’re not allowed to challenge them,’ he said.

‘But if anyone kicked up a real stink I’d ask them to leave.’

Generally, though, customers had accepted the change, as had the staff.

‘I’ve given them extra breaks because it can get a bit stuffy after a while. All the customers are very good and it’s made no difference to business.’

His biggest fear was that social distancing could come back, leading to limited numbers in shops and queues outside. ‘That would be the killer.’

Store manager at Schuh Alisha Nightingale said her staff had worn masks ever since they were strongly recommended by the States, and the customers had not been a problem. ‘Everyone seems all right today, wearing masks – it’s good to see,’ she said. ‘If anyone comes in without a mask we remind them and most people put them on straight away.’

Like Mr Billien, she hoped that social distancing would not return, ‘but we have everything in place if we have to go back to it,’ she said.

Body Shop team leader Gosia Rowe said that it had been business as usual. ‘Everyone is very happy to wear a mask and people in the shop have been social distancing,’ she said.

‘I’ve also noticed that quite a lot of customers don’t ask for advice, they just try to shop independently, to reduce contact.

‘We’ve been wearing masks for at least two weeks, from when the case numbers started going up over 300.’

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