On Friday 24 July 2020 shoppers will be required to use face coverings (masks) when entering stores. This could present issues for the police but the PCC believes the primary responsibility for enforcing this lies with the stores.
Where the police are called they should continue to follow their “four Es” approach – engage, educate, encourage and, only as a last resort, enforce.
Dr Billings said: “The responsibility for ensuring that those who enter shops are wearing face coverings has to lie with the shopkeeper. It would be impossible to ask the police to enforce this given the number of retail outlets.
“If people refuse to comply and the police are called, I would hope they will continue the approach they have adopted throughout the crisis so far: they should talk to people and seek to persuade them to observe the regulations, only resorting to enforcement as a last resort.
“I am sure the vast majority of the people of South Yorkshire will understand why wearing face coverings is important if we want to avoid a spike in coronavirus cases and defeat the pandemic.
“We must do what we know is right to protect one another”