Small firms across Derbyshire hope face coverings will give confidence to shoppers
With the government announcing that face coverings are now mandatory in all shops, small firms are anticipating more customers will have the confidence to return to the high street.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) chairman Mike Cherry, said: “All small firms that are planning to or have already opened back up again have the health and safety of their employees as well as customers at the very forefront of their minds.
“Businesses are already introducing screens, cleaning more regularly and engaging in a contact-free way where possible, and many are already making use of facemasks for staff.
“Facemasks and coverings can provide a certain level of protection to people you come into close contact with, which could help to stop the spread of the disease and to help get back to business as soon as possible.
"As mandatory face coverings are introduced, small firms know that they have a part to play in the nation’s recovery both physically and financially, and I’m sure this will welcomed by them.
“Of course, we know that facemasks cannot be worn by everyone, and wearing them can pose significant challenges for certain groups, such as those who are deaf and reliant on lip reading.
"We also must be careful that this does not become a trigger for abuse against shop owners and their employees, even though the majority of customers have so far proved accepting of social distancing measures.
"Understanding and empathy should be important watchwords for all if this does happen.
“But at a time when we want to encourage footfall to increase in our town centres and high streets, councils and government should help small firms either by delivering masks or by offering funding for the purchase of masks so that customers aren’t turned away.
“While some shoppers may still be nervous, small firms will be hoping that these new measures will inject new confidence into customers and get them back into town centres.”