'It is the norm' - supermarket shoppers stick to mask wearing

Customers using Tesco Metro in Norwich wearing their masks.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Customers using Tesco Metro in Norwich wearing their masks. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Supermarket shoppers around the city are keeping on their masks on despite the dropping of social distancing restrictions.

As of July 19, people in England are no longer required to wear masks or face coverings by law while in shops.

Customers using Tesco Metro in Norwich wearing their masks.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Customers using Tesco Metro in Norwich wearing their masks. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

But despite the loss of restrictions, prime minister Boris Johnson has urged people to exercise caution.

Customers using Tesco Metro in Norwich wearing their masks.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Customers using Tesco Metro in Norwich wearing their masks. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

And it seemed shoppers in two suburban stores - Sainsbury's in Costessey and Lidl in Sprowston - were heeding the message with the majority wearing masks.

Customers using Tesco Metro in Norwich wearing their masks.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Customers using Tesco Metro in Norwich wearing their masks. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Around lunchtime on July 20, around four adults were not wearing masks in Sainsbury's when the supermarket had about 70 customers.

And in Lidl, out of around 40 customers, four shoppers were not wearing masks.

Elliot Stewart, 49, a comedy DJ from Future Radio, who wore a mask during his shop, had spent the last few months ordering food online because of wanting to protect vulnerable loved ones.

Elliot Stewart, 49, outside Sainsbury's supermarket in Costessey.

Elliot Stewart, 49, outside Sainsbury's supermarket in Costessey. - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Mr Stewart, from New Costessey, said: "I had a quick dash here but I wasn't sure about it. When I go back home I will wash my clothes and have a shower. It is important to wear a mask because the cases are going up. I want to respect people's wishes for space. I think the restrictions should have been reduced gradually. It does feel foolish."

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Beryl Bowman-Game, 76, from Hellesdon, was continuing to wear a face shield.

Beryl Bowman-Game, 76, from Hellesdon, outside Sainsbury's supermarket in Costessey.

Beryl Bowman-Game, 76, from Hellesdon, outside Sainsbury's supermarket in Costessey. - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

She said: "Eventually we have to take a chance but at the moment we have to exercise a bit of caution. It is freedom of choice and the majority of people are wearing a mask."

The former secretary thought the government should wait a few more weeks until completely relaxing restrictions because of increasing cases.

Denis Parker, 78, from Thorpe St Andrew, who was shopping in Lidl with a mask on, said: "The government were a bit rash in dropping social distancing rules. I think there is going to be a huge spike in cases."

Denis Parker, 78, from Thorpe St Andrew, who was shopping at the Sprowston Lidl supermarket in July 2021.

Denis Parker, 78, from Thorpe St Andrew, who was shopping at the Sprowston Lidl supermarket in July 2021. - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

He added that supermarkets were being sensible with their guidance over masks and shoppers were behaving sensibly too.

Shoppers at Sainsbury's supermarket in Costessey.

Shoppers at Sainsbury's supermarket in Costessey. - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

A 54-year-old woman, who was shopping with her mask on, said: "Wearing a mask has become a way of life now. It is the norm. It was early to stop social distancing. Come September I think we will be back to square one with some sort of lockdown."

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