Andy Burnham has called on supermarket chains in Greater Manchester to “play their part” in enforcing the wearing of face masks in stores.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester made the announcement during a live-streamed press conference held yesterday afternoon and stated that he feels it is “unfair” to leave the enforcement of this rule strictly to the police force.
It comes after the wearing of face masks in supermarkets and shops in England became a compulsory requirement as of 23rd July.
Anyone who fails to comply with the rules could be fined up to £100 (reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days).
Speaking further on the situation, Mr Burnham said: “We want to see a much stricter approach to enforcing the wearing of face coverings when people arrive at the supermarket and if people refuse to do so, then they are also asked to leave.”
He continued: “I’m not asking staff or checkout workers to be doing this. I’m asking supermarkets to have security staff to it, because most of them do employ security staff [and] let’s remember, all of the supermarkets have made a lot of money throughout this whole situation.
“I don’t think it is too much to ask.
“If they say they can’t afford to do it everywhere, I’m saying they should be doing it in Greater Manchester with the situation we face, and other areas that are facing greater restrictions.”
Mr Burnham is believed to have written directly to four unnamed major supermarket chains calling for a “much stricter approach” to enforcing the restrictions.
He said the issue of “patchy implementation” of government guidelines – particularly with regards to the wearing of face coverings in store – could be found in supermarkets across the region.
In response to the claims made by the Mayor of Greater Manchester yesterday, a spokesperson for the British Retail Association said that the legal responsibility to enforce mask wearing should continue to reside with the police.
They said: “It’s the job of the police and not the supermarkets – that was [made] very clear in the government guidelines”.